Unmet Need: Use of single-atom catalysts as nanozymes
Nanomaterial-based enzymes referred as nanozymes are promising alternatives to natural enzymes. Based on their properties of higher stability and lower cost, nanozymes are synthesized and applied in various applications. Iron oxide nanozyme has been a classical research model, but is still weaker and inferior to natural enzymes. Efforts have been made to decrease the size of nanoparticles leading to rising surface free energy of the nanozyme which further leads to serious aggregation and rapid catalytic activity loss.
The Technology: Single atom nanozyme based on Fe-N-C catalysts
Researchers at WSU are proposing a new single-atom nanozyme based on single Fe atoms anchor on N-doped carbons supported on carbon nanotube (CNT/FeNC). Single-atom catalysts have unique characteristics of maximum specific activity and atomic utilization. FeNC nanomaterials exhibit extremely attractive properties in electrocatalysis.
• As artificial enzymes in biosensing, bacteria killing, cancer therapy and environmental treatment.
• As signal elements in a series of paper bioassays for the detection of H2O2, glucose and ascorbic acid, and ultrahigh sensitivities.
• Excellent catalytic activity for many chemical reactions due to single-atom dispersion of the nanostructure.
• Good chemical stability in harsh conditions such as strong acid, alkaline and oxidizing chemicals.
• Unique characteristics like 100% atomic Fe utilization, tunable coordination structure and large surface area.
Provisional patent application has been filed.