Dehui Deng, Xinhe Bao, Jiao Deng
Great endeavors are undertaken to search for low-cost, rich-reserve, and highly efficient alternatives to replace precious-metal catalysts, in order to cut costs and improve the efficiency of catalysts in industry. However, one major problem in metal catalysts, especially nonprecious-metal catalysts, is their poor stability in real catalytic processes. Recently, a novel and promising strategy to construct 2D materials encapsulating nonprecious-metal catalysts has exhibited inimitable advantages toward catalysis, especially under harsh conditions (e.g., strong acidity or alkalinity, high temperature, and high overpotential). The concept, which originates from unique electron penetration through the 2D crystal layer from the encapsulated metals to promote a catalytic reaction on the outermost surface of the 2D crystal, has been widely applied in a variety of reactions under harsh conditions. It has been vividly described as “chainmail for catalyst.” Herein, recent progress concerning this chainmail catalyst is reviewed, particularly focusing on the structural design and control with the associated electronic properties of such heterostructure catalysts, and also on their extensive applications in fuel cells, water splitting, CO2 conversion, solar cells, metal–air batteries, and heterogeneous catalysis. In addition, the current challenges that are faced in fundamental research and industrial application, and future opportunities for these fantastic catalytic materials are discussed.
A new catalytic concept is systematically reviewed based on robust catalysts via utilizing electron penetration from encapsulated metal nanoparticles to the surface of 2D materials, described vividly as “chainmail for catalyst.” Furthermore, structural and electronic optimization, including the flexible combination of metal nanoparticles and 2D materials, enrich such a class of catalysts and boost them into more applications.