Discovery of the first metal-free carbocatalyst (nitrogen assembly carbons, NACs) capable of activating strong covalent bonds, H-H, C-O, and C-H, with high selectivity. The unique activity arises from the closely-placed graphitic N, as indicated by mechanistic and kinetic studies together with DFT calculations.
Significance and Impact
The discovery of new active sites provides guidelines for rationale design of novel metal-free catalysts. NACs are broadly applicable for processing fossil and renewable feedstocks, electrocatalysis, and fuel cells.
Luo, Z.; Nie, R.; Nguyen, V. T.; Biswas, A.; Behera, R. K.; Wu, X.; Kobayashi, T.; Sadow, A.; Wang, B.;* Huang, W.;* Qi, L.* Transition metal-like carbocatalyst. Nat. Commun. 2020, 11, 4091. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17909-8.