Tailoring nanohybrids and nanocomposites for catalytic applications
Research on and development of inorganic–organic nanohybrids and nanocomposite materials has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Synthetic strategies for such materials vary from grafting or co-condensation of Si and C sources to the impregnation of silica with polymers. Nanohybrids, prepared using organosilanes, and nanocomposites, obtained by hard or soft templated synthesis, are discussed. Various strategies will be presented that demonstrate how additional carbon properties can be exploited maximising the activity, selectivity and stability of composite materials as solid catalysts. Composite materials allow for the extensive engineering of a catalyst enabling careful tuning of the type, amount and position of active sites, as well as the porosity and hydrophilic nature of the final catalyst. These materials not only combine the advantages of silica (e.g. thermal stability, rigidity, ordering) and carbon (e.g. flexibility, ductility) but also allow their synergetic action in various catalytic applications.