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Nano Catalyst is a substance derived from Ceph tissue, first obtained when Alcatraz must investigate the alien crash site. It can be collected from dead aliens, and appears as a shimmering cloud over the alien's point of death for several seconds before dissipating. Different alien units drop different amounts of Nano Catalyst.


Nano Catalyst is used to activate dormant Nanosuit Modules.

  • Tactical Modules
    • Threat Tracer - 100 Nano Catalyst. Shows origin and direction of incoming attacks.
    • Proximity Alarm - 1,200 Nano Catalyst. Warns of enemy presence using a beeping sound.
    • Cloak Tracker - 16,000 Nano Catalyst. Reduces the effectiveness of enemy cloaks.
  • Armor Modules
    • Armor Enhance - 100 Nano Catalyst. Reduces the amount of suit energy used while armored.
    • Nano Recharge - 8,000 Nano Catalyst. Accelerates health and energy regeneration.
    • Deflection - 12,000 Nano Catalyst. Doubles the effectiveness of Armor Mode.
  • Power Modules
    • Mobility Enhance - 600 Nano Catalyst. Reduces your energy expenditure by half while jumping and a unknown amount for sprinting and aids “ledge grab” speed by +50%
    • Air Friction - 1,600 Nano Catalyst. Increases control while in mid-air.
    • Air Stomp - 4,000 Nano Catalyst. Enables the emission of a shockwave after falling capable of instantly killing most opponents.
  • Stealth Modules
    • Covert Ops - 1,000 Nano Catalyst. Dampens footsteps to allow upright movement while remaining silent.
    • Tracker - 2,000 Nano Catalyst. Reveals enemy footprints.
    • Stealth Enhance - 10,000 Nano Catalyst. Greatly reduces the amount of energy expended while cloaked.


  • Any unspent Nano Catalyst at the end of the game may carry over into the player's next file as a negative value. It is recommended for players to spend as much Nano Catalyst as they can on upgrades before the end of the game. This is due to a bug in-game, and was corrected in patch 1.2.0.
  • The player keeps all Nanosuit upgrades that they purchased in their previous playthrough if they replay the campaign. As such, there is no reason to save Nano Catalyst for another playthrough, unless the player didn't purchase all upgrades in their first run.
  • Killing an enemy by grabbing it will cause the Nano Catalyst to float in the air. It can be collected if the player jumps to collect it.
  • 56,600 units of Nano Catalyst are needed to activate all modules.
  • It used to be that collecting any amount of Nano Catalyst will instantly replenish the player's energy. Now, however, you get 1 point of energy for every 10 Nano Catalyst you collect. Therefore, killing a commander and collecting 300 catalyst will yield 30 energy.
  • The system doesn't return for the third game, as the Ceph and last remaining nanosuit during the future era have evolved far past it, but a lot of the material contained inside the 'skinning kits' are raw catalyst, suggesting that nanosuits, just like all other forms of ceph-derived technology, can be converted into catalyst.
  • Coincidentally, most harvesting attempts performed on nanosuited individuals end in fatality, just like most attempts to extract catalyst from ceph.