Nano Research

Article Title

Controlling N-doping type in carbon to boost single-atom site Cu catalyzed transfer hydrogenation of quinoline


nitrogen-doping type, metal oxide, nitrogen-doped carbon, single-atom site catalyst, transfer hydrogenation


Single-atom site (SA) catalysts on N-doped carbon (CN) materials exhibit prominent performance for their active sites being M-Nx. Due to the commonly random doping behaviors of N species in these CN, it is a tough issue to finely regulate their doping types and clarify their effect on the catalytic property of such catalysts. Herein, we report that the N-doping type in CN can be dominated as pyrrolic-N and pyridinic-N respectively through compounding with different metal oxides. It is found that the proportion of distinct doped N species in CN depends on the acidity and basicity of compounded metal oxide host. Owing to the coordination by pyrrolic-N, the SA Cu catalyst displays an enhanced activity (two-fold) for transfer hydrogenation of quinoline to access the valuable molecule tetrahydroquinoline with a good selectivity (99%) under mild conditions. The higher electron density of SA Cu species induced by the predominate pyrrolic-N coordination benefits the hydrogen transfer process and reduces the energy barrier of the hydrogenation pathway, which accounts for the improved catalytic effeciency.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press