Electrostatic Stabilization of Single-Atom Catalysts by Ionic Liquids

Shipeng Ding, Yalin Guo, Max J. Hülsey, Bin Zhang, Hiroyuki Asakura, Lingmei Liu, Yu Han, Min Gao, Jun ya Hasegawa, Botao Qiao, Tao Zhang, Ning Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In single-atom catalysts (SACs), the isolated metal atoms on solid support are often charged. Taking advantage of this common feature, we establish ionic liquid-stabilized single-atom catalysts (ILSSACs) employing electrostatic interaction as a general stabilization strategy. While Pt nanoparticles were formed on hydroxyapatite after reaction when unprotected, Pt remained atomically dispersed on ionic liquid-stabilized samples. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the activation energy for the transformation of two isolated Pt atoms to a Pt dimer increases remarkably from 0.11 to 0.72 eV with the protection of [Bmim][BF4]. The presence of ILs also tunes the electronic state of Pt1, inducing an order-of-magnitude hydrogenation activity increase. The simple stabilization strategy is easily extended to SACs comprising various metal atom-support combinations. For instance, ILs significantly improved the stability and selectivity of a Pd1 catalyst for the hydrogenation of acetylene, thus outperforming unprotected SACs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3207-3219
Number of pages13
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 4 2019


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