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Nanoparticles and Catalysis. Edited by Didier Astruc

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Nanoparticles and Catalysis
Edited by Didier
Astruc. Wiley-VCH,
Weinheim 2007.
640 pp., hardcover
E 299.00.—ISBN
The refining of crude oil, the production
of bulk and fine chemicals, and the
treatment of environmental pollutants
all depend on the chemical reactivity of
nanostructured surfaces. Although
much has become known about catalysis
during the 170 years since Jns J. Berzelius first coined the term, chemists
usually have limited success when it
comes to designing catalysts for
improved selectivity, durability, and
activity. Thus, although it can be
asserted that heterogeneous catalysis—
as both an academic discipline and a
commercial practice—is the best reallife example of nanotechnology, we are
still constrained by incomplete knowledge of catalytic properties on the
molecular and nanometer scales.
One general approach to increasing
our understanding of catalysis is at the
synthesis stage, in the belief that rational
design and construction of a catalyst can
be accomplished on the molecular and
nanometer scales to give control of the
surface active site and the void space
surrounding the active site. This can be
seen as a motivation for the growing
worldwide research activity on metallic
nanoparticles (NPs) as catalysts and
catalyst precursors, with Didier Astruc+s
new book Nanoparticles and Catalysis as
a timely and definitive guide.
Having previously co-authored the
definitive review article on gold NPs
(Chem. Rev. 2004, 104, 293–346), Astruc
has now assembled a 620-page book
containing 18 chapters contributed by
catalysis and NP researchers from
around the world (H. Bnnemann,
L. M. Bronstein, B. D. Chandler, M.
Haruta, J. G. de Vries, A. Corma, C.
Louis, M. Rossi, R. M. Richards, among
others). The book conceives of NP
catalysis as an emerging research field
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 7794 – 7795
that bridges the gap between the heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis
communities to provide a better understanding of catalysis and means of controlling it.
In Chapter 1, Astruc presents a brief
history of transition-metal NPs with
regard to their synthesis, stabilization,
and immobilization on a support, and
their role in a number of catalytic
reactions and applications. He has written this chapter in such a way that it also
conveniently serves as an outline of the
book+s contents, providing a background
for each of the other chapters. He
explains in the preface (although not in
the table of contents) that the book is
organized in three parts.
In the first part (Chapters 2–9, synthesis of and catalysis by NPs, about
40 % of the total pages), suspended NPs
stabilized by surfactants, polymers, and
dendrimers are reviewed. Other topics
are: suspended NPs prepared and used
in room-temperature ionic liquids; the
use of metal NPs to catalyze the growth
of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, and
the use of these fibers and SiC nanofibers as catalyst supports; the preparation of metal-supported aerogels; the
electrochemical synthesis of suspended
NPs and the colloidal synthesis of NPs of
metal oxides such as PtO2 ; and the
preparation of supported multimetal
NPs by using redox reactions.
The second part (Chapters 10–12,
catalysis by Pd, Ru, Ir, and Au metals,
about 20 % of the book), contains highly
relevant articles on Pd NPs in carbon–
carbon coupling reactions (as precatalysts), Rh and Ru NPs in hydrogenation
reactions, and supported Au NPs in
oxidation reactions.
The third part (Chapters 13–18,
specific reactions and catalytic applications, about 30 % of the book) contains
several reviews on Au catalysis in
organic reactions, for propene epoxidation, and in CO oxidation. The other
topics discussed are the use of supported
metal NPs for NOx removal and hydrocarbon reforming, and supported metal
NPs modified by organometallic complexes for use as commercial de-metallization catalysts.
This is an excellent source on the
subject of NP catalysis. The chapters are
authoritatively written, and amply illustrated and referenced. There is inevita-
bly some overlap, which is expected
since the chapters are meant to be standalone essays. However, the index could
have been made more comprehensive in
order to connect the chapters better. For
example, I found no entry covering the
Brust–Schiffrin synthesis method for Au
The wide variety of topics shows the
breadth and depth of research in metal
NP catalysis. There is a strong emphasis
on Au NP catalysis, which was already
well covered two years earlier in the
book Catalysis by Gold, by G. C. Bond,
C. Louis, and D. T. Thompson (reviewed
in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 7734–
7735). Examples of current research
topics that could have added breadth
are computer modeling of metal NP
catalysis, in situ spectroscopic and
microscopic analysis of metal NPs, and
aqueous-phase NP catalysis for green
chemistry and environmental clean-up.
A minor point is that the book+s title
does not indicate the strong focus on
metallic NPs. A reader might expect to
find chapters on photocatalytic semiconductor NPs (such as TiO2 and CdSe)
or supported metal oxide NPs (found in
tungsten-containing zirconia, for example). The well-established industrial
practice of supported metal catalysis
could have been discussed more to
provide stronger context. Finally, it
would have been helpful to state more
forcefully (in the preface or in Chapter
1) that NPs can be synthesized (and
used) in either the unsupported or
supported states. This point got lost in
certain parts of the book, because of the
different terminologies and perspectives
of the various chapter authors.
I strongly recommend this book to
any researcher entering the interdisciplinary world of catalytic metal NPs.
There are many fine books on the
subjects of nanotechnology and catalysis, but none addresses metal NPs and
catalysis as directly, comprehensively,
and usefully as Astruc+s book.
Michael S. Wong
Department of Chemical and
Biomolecular Engineering
Department of Chemistry
Rice University, Houston, Texas (USA)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200785570
5 2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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astrum, didier, catalysing, edited, nanoparticles
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