Catalysis under cover

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The "catalysis under cover" is a recent and emerging field of research (see Review Article by X. Bao and co. in Nature Nanotech. 2016, 11, 218), focusing the attention on the chemical reactivity taking place in the confined zone between two interfacing materials. Typically, at least one of materials is 2D, e.g. graphene, h-BN or MoS​2.​ A number of examples of enhanced reactivity have now been reported in the literature, where the chemical process is favored if taking place between the two exposed surfaces.

Still very little is known on the mechanism of this special type of catalysis and on the true role played by the two surfaces. Is the space confinement effect a sufficient reason for the enhanced reaction rate or are surface atoms actually involved in the reaction steps? Are defects and impurities also active in the promotion of chemical reactions?