Researchers developed a nano-cobalt phosphide catalyst (nano-Co2P) for the hydrogenation of nitriles to primary amines. The catalyst was stable in air and achieved activity up to 500-fold higher than other catalysts. A range of nitriles were hydrogenated at ambient pressure, making nano-Co2P the first earth-abundant metal catalyst to be effective under mild conditions. It will have a significant impact on the efficiency and sustainability of synthesizing products from dyes to pharmaceuticals.
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