The physical chemistry and materials science behind sinter-resistant catalysts
Catalyst sintering, a main cause of the loss of catalytic activity and/or selectivity at high reaction temperatures, is a major concern and grand challenge in the general area of heterogeneous catalysis. Although all heterogeneous catalysts are inevitably subjected to sintering during their operation, the immediate and drastic consequences can be mitigated by carefully engineering the catalytic particles and their interactions with the supports. In this tutorial review, we highlight recent progress in understanding the physical chemistry and materials science involved in sintering, including the discussion of advanced techniques, such as in situ microscopy and spectroscopy, for investigating the sintering process and its rate. We also discuss strategies for the design and rational fabrication of sinter-resistant catalysts. Finally, we showcase recent success in improving the thermal stability and thus sinter resistance of supported catalytic systems.