General synthesis of single-atom catalysts with high metal loading using graphene quantum dots

Chuan Xia, Yunrui Qiu, Yang Xia, Peng Zhu, Xiao Zhang, Zhenyu Wu, Peng Li, Peixin Cui, Husam N. Alshareef, Yongfeng Hu, Haotian Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

344 Citations (Scopus)


Transition-metal single-atom catalysts present extraordinary activity per metal atomic site, but suffer from low metal-atom densities (typically less than 5 wt% or 1 at.%), which limits their overall catalytic performance. Here we report a general method for the synthesis of single-atom catalysts with high transition-metal-atom loadings of up to 40 wt% or 3.8 at.%, representing several-fold improvements compared to benchmarks in the literature. Graphene quantum dots, later interweaved into a carbon matrix, were used as a support, providing numerous anchoring sites and thus facilitating the generation of high densities of transition-metal atoms with sufficient spacing between the metal atoms to avoid aggregation. A significant increase in activity in electrochemical CO2 reduction (used as a representative reaction) was demonstrated on a Ni single-atom catalyst with increased Ni loading. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-894
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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