Chemical Reviews, Vol.120, No.21, 12217-12314, 2020
Advanced Electrocatalysts with Single-Metal-Atom Active Sites
Electrocatalysts with single metal atoms as active sites have received increasing attention owing to their high atomic utilization efficiency and exotic catalytic activity and selectivity. This review aims to provide a comprehensive summary on the recent development of such single-atom electrocatalysts (SAECs) for various energy-conversion reactions. The discussion starts with an introduction of the different types of SAECs, followed by an overview of the synthetic methodologies to control the atomic dispersion of metal sites and atomically resolved characterization using state-of-the-art microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. In recognition of the extensive applications of SAECs, the electrocatalytic studies are dissected in terms of various important electrochemical reactions, including hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), oxygen evolution reaction (OER), oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), carbon dioxide reduction reaction (CO2RR), and nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR). Examples of SAECs are deliberated in each case in terms of their catalytic performance, structure-property relationships, and catalytic enhancement mechanisms. A perspective is provided at the end of each section about remaining challenges and opportunities for the development of SAECs for the targeted reaction.