Best practices for reporting nanocatalytic performance: lessons learned from nitroarene reduction as a model reaction†
Nanocatalytic performance is inconsistently reported, making comparisons between catalysts a real challenge. Using the widely-reported reduction of 4-nitrophenol by borohydride for illustration, we recommend best practices for reporting nanocatalytic results, including: (i) nanocatalyst loading (e.g., mol% metal) must be explicitly stated alongside any reported catalytic rates (kapp). (ii) Turnover frequencies (TOFs) are dependent on the extent of reaction; we advocate using 95% reaction completion for determination of TOF. (iii) Accessible via simple mixing (1 min, no heating required), ascorbate-capped gold nanoparticles represent a convenient and reproducible benchmark nanocatalyst for nitroarene reduction. The lessons learned here are of a general nature and can be translated to the reporting of additional (nano)catalytic reactions as well.