Toward Informed Design of Nanomaterials: A Mechanistic Analysis of Structure-Property-Function Relationships for Faceted Nanoscale Metal Oxides


Nanoscale metal oxides (NMOs) have found wide-scale applicability in a variety of environmental fields, particularly catalysis, gas sensing, and sorption. Facet engineering, or controlled exposure of a particular crystal plane, has been established as an advantageous approach to enabling enhanced functionality of NMOs. However, the underlying mechanisms that give rise to this improved performance are often not systematically examined, leading to an insufficient understanding of NMO facet reactivity. This critical review details the unique electronic and structural characteristics of commonly studied NMO facets and further correlates these characteristics to the principal mechanisms that govern performance in various catalytic, gas sensing, and contaminant removal applications. General trends of facet-dependent behavior are established for each of the NMO compositions, and selected case studies for extensions of facet-dependent behavior, such as mixed metals, mixed-metal oxides, and mixed facets, are discussed. Key conclusions about facet reactivity, confounding variables that tend to obfuscate them, and opportunities to deepen structure-property-function understanding are detailed to encourage rational, informed design of NMOs for the intended application.


PMID: 33237735; PMCID: PMC8144246

Last updated on 08/31/2021