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Issue 14, 2018
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Dual effects of water vapor on ceria-supported gold clusters

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Abstract

Atomically precise nanocatalysts are currently being intensely pursued in catalysis research. Such nanocatalysts can serve as model catalysts for gaining fundamental insights into catalytic processes. In this work we report a discovery that water vapor provokes the mild removal of surface long-chain ligands on 25-atom Au25(SC12H25)18 nanoclusters in a controlled manner. Using the resultant Au25(SC12H25)18−x/CeO2 catalyst and CO oxidation as a probe reaction, we found that the catalytic activity of cluster/CeO2 is enhanced from nearly zero conversion of CO (in the absence of water) to 96.2% (in the presence of 2.3 vol% H2O) at the same temperature (100 °C). The cluster catalysts exhibit high stability during the CO oxidation process under moisture conditions (up to 20 vol% water vapor). Water vapor plays a dual role in gold cluster-catalyzed CO oxidation. FT-IR and XPS analyses in combination with density functional theory (DFT) simulations suggest that the “–SC12H25” ligands are easier to be removed under a water vapor atmosphere, thus generating highly active sites. Moreover, the O22− peroxide species constitutes the active oxygen species in CO oxidation, evidenced by Raman spectroscopy analysis and isotope experiments on the CeO2 and cluster/CeO2. The results also indicate the perimeter sites of the interface of Au25(SC12H25)18−x/CeO2 to be active sites for catalytic CO oxidation. The controlled exposure of active sites under mild conditions is of critical importance for the utilization of clusters in catalysis.

Graphical abstract: Dual effects of water vapor on ceria-supported gold clusters

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Dec 2017, accepted on 28 Feb 2018 and first published on 28 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09447G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018,10, 6558-6565
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    Dual effects of water vapor on ceria-supported gold clusters

    Z. Li, W. Li, H. Abroshan, Q. Ge, G. Li and R. Jin, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 6558
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09447G

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