Synthesis of catalytic materials in flames: opportunities and challenges
The proven capacity of flame aerosol technology for rapid and scalable synthesis of functional nanoparticles makes it ideal for the manufacture of an array of heterogeneous catalysts. Capitalizing on the high temperature environment, rapid cooling and intimate component mixing at either atomic or nano scale, novel catalysts with unique physicochemical properties have been made using flame processes. This tutorial review covers the main features of flame synthesis and illustrates how the physical and chemical properties of as-synthesized solid catalytic materials can be controlled by proper choice of the process parameters. Gas phase particle formation mechanisms and the effect of synthesis conditions (reactor configuration, precursor and dispersion gas flow rates, temperature and concentration fields) on the structural, chemical and catalytic properties of as-prepared materials are discussed. Finally, opportunities and challenges offered by flame synthesis of catalytic materials are addressed.