Size- and morphology-controlled nanoparticles, which are synthesized using colloidal techniques, have allowed the production of model catalysts. "Hot injection" synthesis has been developed to produce monodisperse cobalt nanoparticles (NPs) with a narrow size distribution of σ ~ 10%.
Mesoporous supports like silica, alumina, etc. can be impregnated with as-synthesized cobalt nanoparticles. In combination with powerful characterization techniques that provide atomic- and molecular- level information, these model cobalt nanoparticle catalysts are being employed to study fundamental mechanistic questions in relation with CO and CO2 hydrogenation reactions as well as CO oxidation.