Cucurbituril-based high-performance catalytic microreactors†
Catalytic microreactors manufactured using microfluidic devices have received significant research interest in recent years. However, little attention has been paid to immobilising metallic nanoparticles (NPs) onto microchannel walls for high efficiency catalytic reactions. We demonstrate a facile preparation of cucurbituril-based catalytic microreactors, where metallic NPs are immobilised onto microchannels via supramolecular complexation with methyl viologen@cucurbituril (CB). These microreactors exhibit a remarkable catalytic activity owing to the substantially high surface area to volume ratio of the microchannels and metallic NPs. Superior to most conventional heterogeneous catalytic reactions, separation post reaction and complicated recycling steps of the catalysts are not required. Moreover, CB can complex a variety of metallic NPs to its portal, providing a multifunctional high-performance in situ catalytic platform.