Carbon nanotubes as catalyst support material


Leonard S. Fifield,, J. Timothy Bays, R. Shane Addleman,, Thomas H. Peterson, and Yuehe Lin, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, P.O. Box 999, Battelle Blvd, Richland, WA 99352
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) represent a unique and interesting material for use as a catalyst support. The electrical and thermal properties of CNTs make them appealing for electrocatalytic reactions and reactions requiring rapid heat transfer. The convex outer surface and well-defined nanoscale inner surface of CNTs may offer unequaled opportunities to optimize reaction rates and mechanisms/products. In addition to established techniques for metal particle deposition onto CNTs for heterogeneous reactions, recently developed chemical methods encourage the envisioning of CNTs modified with homogeneous-style catalytic reaction sites. Controlled chemical modification of CNTs may enable engineering of active site local environment and may thus facilitate the optimization of reaction selectivity (product control) and the realization of new functionalities such as multi-step reactions. The potential of carbon nanotube-based support materials to improve the performance of current catalytic systems and to create new opportunities in catalysis make them the topic of ongoing research.