The on-and-off dynamics of thiophene on a nickel cluster enables efficient hydrodesulfurization and excellent stability at high temperatures
Despite significant advances in the synthesis and structural determination of atomically precise metal clusters, few studies have explored their catalytic applications in industrially important reactions. Here, we report a thiolate-stabilized Ni cluster for the efficient hydrodesulfurization of thiophene under relatively harsh reaction conditions while maintaining its atomic structure, which was enabled by the on-and-off dynamic state of thiophene on the cluster. Through a combined experimental and theoretical approach, we elucidate the activated structure and the catalytic mechanism. The study highlights the great potential of structurally precise clusters for practical industrial applications.