chapter  Chapter 1
9 Pages

Introduction to Catalysts

WithQingmin Ji, Katsuhiko Ariga

Living matters rely on enzymes, which are the most specific catalysts in biological processes. In a spontaneous reaction, catalysts have multi-forms, varying from atoms, molecules and larger supermolecules. Unlike metal catalysts, organometallic compounds are soluble in the catalytic reactions. Enzymes act as biocatalysts for biochemical reactions. However, nanosized catalysts are always weak on their thermal stability according to their critical sizes. The roles of soft matters in the design of novel catalysts may be reflected from the nanostructuring of catalysts, manipulation of organized nanostructures, and the controls on surface properties. Researchers start the ab initio simulation of nanoscale materials to predict the structural, morphological, compositional, electronic, and chemical aspects of a catalyst, to achieve specific guidelines for improved reactivity, selectivity and stability. As some catalysts are made of expensive metals, the supported catalysts may reduce the quantity of noble metal employed and increase cost-efficacy.