Network-supported, metal-mediated catalysis: progress and perspective
Metal-mediated chemical reactions have been a vital area of research for over a century. Recently, there has been increasing effort to improve the performance of metal-mediated catalysis by optimizing the structure and chemical environment of active catalytic species towards process intensification and sustainability. Network-supported catalysts use a solid (rigid or flexible) support with embedded metal catalysts, ideally allowing for efficient precursor access to the catalytic sites and simultaneously not requiring a catalyst separation step following the reaction with minimal catalyst leaching. This minireview focuses on recent developments of network-supported catalysts to improve the performance of a wide range of metal-mediated catalytic reactions. We discuss in detail the different strategies to realize the combined benefits of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis in a metal catalyst support. We outline the unique versatility, tunability, properties, and activity of such hybrid catalysts in batch and continuous flow configurations. Furthermore, we present potential future directions to address some of the challenges and shortcomings of current flexible network-supported catalysts.