Building up strain in colloidal metal nanoparticle catalysts
The focus on surface lattice strain in nanostructures as a fundamental research topic has gained momentum in recent years as scientists investigated its significant impact on the surface electronic structure and catalytic properties of nanomaterials. Researchers have begun to tell a more complete story of catalysis from a perspective which brings this concept to the forefront of the discussion. The nano-‘realm’ makes the effects of surface lattice strain, which acts on the same spatial scales, more pronounced due to a higher ratio of surface to bulk atoms. This is especially evident in the field of metal nanoparticle catalysis, where displacement of atoms on surfaces can significantly alter the sorption properties of molecules. In part, the concept of strain-engineering for catalysis opened up due to the achievements that were made in the synthesis of a more sophisticated nanoparticle library from an ever-expanding set of methodologies. Developing synthesis methods for metal nanoparticles with well-defined and strained architectures is a worthy goal that, if reached, will have considerable impact in the search for catalysts. In this review, we summarize the recent accomplishments in the area of surface lattice-strained metal nanoparticle synthesis, framing the discussion from the important perspective of surface lattice strain effects in catalysis.