A method of upcycling polymers to useful hydrocarbon materials. A catalyst with nanoparticles on a substrate selectively docks and cleaves longer hydrocarbon chains over shorter hydrocarbon chains. The catalyst includes metal nanoparticles in an order array on a substrate, and the nanoparticles exhibit an edge to facet ratio to provide for more interactions with the facets. The catalyst can be used to produce lubricants with superior tribological performance.
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