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Homogeneous catalysts are in the same phase as the reactants while heterogeneous catalysts are not. As far as I understand, the phase matters in terms of effectivity depending on the phase that the reactants are in. For example, a solid catalyst in an aqueous solution or a liquid catalyst in an aqueous solution, versus a case where the reactants sit on the surface of the catalyst, which would be called adsorption.
Explaining further, a solid catalyst for a gas-phase or aqueous reaction requires the reactants to adsorb to the surface for the reaction to take place, so the rate of reaction could be limited by the surface area of the catalyst in contact with the gas/aqueous phase.
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