New catalytic materials have been extensively developed since the last decades for application in several research fields including sensors, drug delivery, light-weight high mechanical strength composites and catalysis. In this presentation, we will discuss about last developments on the use of (i) confinement effect in 1D carbon channel, (ii) nanostructuration of 2D carbon via catalytic patterning along with the uncovering of the patterning mechanism by operand transmission electron microscopy, and (iii) development of new bio-sourced mesoporous carbon doped with nitrogen as an active and selective metal-free catalyst for oxidation process. The first example reports on the use of confinement effect to modify and selectively cast, metal oxides, inside 1D carbon material for applications in the field of drug delivery, biological imaging and catalysis. In the second example, catalysis has been used to perform nanopatterning of few-layer graphene, leading to the generation of higher reactive edge sites, for the subsequence anchorage of metal oxide nanoparticles with improved sintering resistance for application in the field of sensor and liquid-phase reactions. The direct analysis of the process by operando TEM at ambient conditions allows one to uncover the different mechanisms operated during the patterning process for future optimization step. The last example focus on the synthesis of nitrogen-doped mesoporous carbon, issued from bio-sourced raw materials, decorated silicon carbide as metal-free catalyst for the selective oxidation of trace amount of H2S into elemental sulfur with improved activity and stability. The presentation will end-up with some future perspectives about the use of carbon-based metal-free catalysts in some relevant catalytic processes as well as the role of operando TEM investigation for unraveling catalytic mechanisms.