Aerogels or xerogels containing atomically dispersed noble metals for applications such environmental remediation. New noble metal precursors, such as Pt--Si or Pd(Si--P).sub.2, have been created to bridge the incompatibility between noble metals and oxygen, followed by their incorporation into the aerogel or xerogel through sol-gel chemistry and processing. Applications include oxidation of hydrocarbons and reduction of nitrogen oxide species, complete oxidation of volatile organic carbon species, oxidative membranes for photocatalysis and partial oxidation for synthetic applications.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.