Researchers have demonstrated that a single metal atom can be used as catalyst for the conversion of carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, according to a study conducted on March 5, 2018.
This research will help in improving the design of catalytic converter and can be used in the field of computational catalysis. Due to the increased efficiency of engines, the temperature at which combustion takes place in engine has reduced. This leads to emission of harmful gases and makes the work of catalytic converters harder. When the researchers were studying about low temperature catalysts, their interest diverted to single metal atoms.
Jean-Sabin McEwen, assistant professor said, “Most of the harmful chemicals in your exhaust such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide are emitted when starting up the engine. The lower the temperature, the harder it is to neutralize these harmful chemicals.”
The reaction between single platinum atoms and copper oxide support were demonstrated by the researchers. Carbon monoxide is held in place by the platinum atom and oxygen is supplied by copper oxide for converting it into carbon dioxide.
Charles Sykes, a professor of chemistry said, “This is a benchmark study that can guide the design of the next generation of low temperature catalytic converters.” Reducing the use of rare metals in catalytic converters would help in reducing the cost. This study gives an answer to the debate on whether a single atom could act as a catalyst. By using single metal atom in catalytic converters, an increase in the growth of precious metal catalysts market can be observed, as detailed in the precious metal catalysts market report published by Coherent Market Insights.