Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 477–505 | Cite as

Supported single-atom catalysts: synthesis, characterization, properties, and applications

  • Jing Liu
  • Benjamin R. Bunes
  • Ling Zang
  • Chuanyi Wang


In recent years, there has been a wide research in supported single-atom catalysts (SACs), which contain only isolated individual metal atoms dispersed on an appropriate support or coordinated with the surface atoms of the support. The SACs exhibit many fascinating characteristics including high activity, selectivity, and maximum atomic utilization. These characteristics arise from the low coordination status, quantum size effect, and the strong metal–support interaction, which have proved to be very powerful in many typical heterogeneous catalysis field including oxidation, hydrogenation, the water–gas shift reaction, methanol steam reforming, electrocatalysis, and photocatalysis. In this review, we summarized the recent progress in synthesis, characterizations, properties, and applications of SACs.


Catalysis Single-atom Oxidation Reforming Hydrogenation Water–gas shift 



We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 21473248), the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams, and the National Science Foundation under Grant #IIP-1059286 to the American Society for Engineering Education. All individual contributions in the cited references are gratefully acknowledged, and any omission is regretted.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental Sciences and Technology, Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics & Chemistry, and Key Laboratory of Functional Materials and Devices for Special EnvironmentsChinese Academy of SciencesÜrümqiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Nano Institute of Utah and Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  4. 4.Vaporsens Inc.Salt Lake CityUSA

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