Designing nanoparticle interfaces for inner-sphere catalysis
Interfaces are an intrinsic component of nanoparticle catalysts and play a critical role in directing their function. Our understanding of the complexity of the nanoparticle interface and how to manipulate it at the molecular level has advanced significantly in recent years. Given this, attention is shifting towards the creation of designer nanoparticle interfaces that impact the activity and direct the mechanisms of inner-sphere catalytic reactions. In this perspective, we seek to highlight and contextualize these efforts. First, methods to alter nanoparticle surfaces are presented, including annealing and plasma treating, as well as more mild chemical treatments, including ligand exchange, etching, and addition (via covalent functionalization). Then interfacial chemistry developed to alter catalytic activity, selectivity, and reaction environment will be highlighted. Finally, we look forward to the challenges that remain to be overcome for realizing the true potential of colloidal nanoparticle catalysis.