Integration of Surface Science, Nanoscience, and Catalysis

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Chemical Engineering, Catalysis and Reaction Engineering, Biochemical and Biomolecular Engineering


This article briefly reviews the development of surface science and its close relevance to nanoscience and heterogeneous catalysis. The focus of this article is to highlight the importance of nanoscale surface science for understanding heterogeneous catalysis performing at solid–gas and solid–liquid interfaces. Surface science has built a foundation for the understanding of catalysis based on the studies of well-defined single-crystal catalysts in the past several decades. Studies of catalysis on well-defined nanoparticles (NPs) significantly promoted the understanding of catalytic mechanisms to an unprecedented level in the last decade. To understand reactions performed on catalytic active sites at nano or atomic scales and thus reach the goal of catalysis by design, studies of the surface of nanocatalysts are crucial. The challenges in such studies are discussed.