Nitrogen-functionalized reduced graphene oxide as carbocatalysts with enhanced activity for polyaromatic hydrocarbon hydrogenation†
In this study, nitrogen atoms are successfully introduced into the skeleton of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) by thermal treatment under an ammonia atmosphere. The activities of the catalysts are tested for anthracene hydrogenation, over which nearly complete anthracene conversion (99%) and high selectivity to the deeply hydrogenated products (around 50%) are achieved. The synergy of graphitic N and the sp2 CC structure can activate anthracene via π–π interactions. Moreover, the pyridinic N can facilitate hydrogen dissociative adsorption. The cooperation between anthracene activation and hydrogen dissociative adsorption results in different catalytic activities of the catalysts. Moreover, the catalysts also show better catalytic performance for the hydrogenation of other polyaromatic hydrocarbons.