Catalytic Properties of Micro- and Mesoporous Nanomaterials
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Micro- and mesoporous materials are unique materials having found widespread use as solid catalysts or catalyst components in areas ranging from petroleum refining to the synthesis of intermediates and fine chemicals. The reasons for the widespread use are related to the possibility to tailor the concentration and nature of catalytically active sites and their immediate environment, which allows controlling the nature of catalytically active sites and the access of molecules to these sites. Such strict control of access is only found in enzymes and similar biological catalysts, but has the inherent disadvantage that it restricts the size of molecules to be converted.
The materials are also special, because they may be nanostructured with respect to the pore diameters and with respect to the overall size of the particles. This may induce interesting properties, which are hardly explored at present. Nearly all solids with a high specific surface area contain micro- and mesopores, most of them being irregular arrays of void space defined by coalescing primary particles and voids generated upon the transformation of material precursors to the final material. The present paper will only discuss materials with regular pore structure, either being fully crystalline (zeotype materials) or showing at least significant long-range ordering (mesoporous materials).