Ligand-protected atomically precise gold nanoclusters as model catalysts for oxidation reactions
Catalytic oxidation is an important reaction in the fine chemical industry, environment, and energy. In the past few decades, many kinds of catalysts have been produced with promising catalytic performance for oxidation reactions; however, the understanding of the mechanisms is still insufficient due to the complexity of the composition and structure of conventional catalysts. In the past several years, the community has tried to address this problem by using ligand-protected atomically precise gold nanoclusters as model catalysts. Ligand-protected gold nanoclusters possess well-defined molecular formulas and structures, and they could serve as ideal model catalysts to understand the correlations between the composition/structure and the catalytic properties at the atomic level. This feature article provides a systematic overview of the related oxidation reactions and the understanding of the mechanisms based on atomically precise gold nanoclusters.