2008 年 51 巻 11 号 p. 721-726
Gold has long been neglected as a catalyst because of its chemical inertness. However, when gold is deposited as nanoparticles on carbon and polymer materials as well as on base metal oxides and hydroxides, it exhibits unique catalytic properties for many reactions such as CO oxidation at a temperature as low as 200 K, gas phase direct epoxidation of propylene, and aerobic oxidation of glucose to gluconic acid. The structure-catalytic activity correlations are discussed with emphasis on the contact structure, support selection, and the size control of gold particles. Gold clusters with diameters smaller than 2 nm are expected to exhibit novel properties in catalysis, optics, and electronics depending on the size (number of atoms), shape, and the electronic and chemical interaction with the support materials. The above achievements and attempts can be regarded as a modern alchemy that creates valuables by means of the noblest element with little practical use.