Preparation of raspberry-like γ-Fe2O3/crackled nitrogen-doped carbon capsules and their application as supports to improve catalytic activity
In this manuscript, we have introduced a novel method to improve the catalytic activity of metal nanoparticles via optimizing the support structure. To this end, raspberry-like γ-Fe2O3/crackled nitrogen-doped carbon (CNC) capsules were prepared by a two-step method. Compared with traditional magnetic capsules, in γ-Fe2O3/CNC capsules, the γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were embedded in a CNC shell; therefore, they neither occupied the anchoring sites for metal nanoparticles nor came into contact with them, which was beneficial for increasing the metal nanoparticle loading. Numerous tiny cracks appeared on the porous CNC shell, which effectively improved the mass diffusion and transport in catalytic reactions. Additionally, the coordination interaction could be generated between the precursor metal ions and doped-nitrogen atoms in the capsule shell. With the help of these structural merits, γ-Fe2O3/CNC capsules were ideal supports for Pd nanoparticles, because they were beneficial for improving the Pd loading, reducing the nanoparticle size, increasing their dispersity and maximizing the catalytic performance of Pd nanoparticles anchored on the inner shell surface. As expected, γ-Fe2O3/CNC@Pd catalysts exhibited a dramatically enhanced catalytic activity towards hydrophilic 4-nitrophenol and hydrophobic nitrobenzene. The reaction rate constant k was compared with recent work and the corresponding reference samples. Moreover, they could be easily recycled by using a magnet and reused without an obvious loss of catalytic activity.