Characterisation of gold catalysts
Au-based catalysts have established a new important field of catalysis, revealing specific properties in terms of both high activity and selectivity for many reactions. However, the correlation between the morphology and the activity of the catalyst is not always clear although much effort has been addressed to this task. To some extent the problem relates to the complexity of the characterisation techniques that can be applied to Au catalyst and the broad range of ways in which they can be prepared. Indeed, in many reports only a few characterization techniques have been used to investigate the potential nature of the active sites. The aim of this review is to provide a critical description of the techniques that are most commonly used as well as the more advanced characterization techniques available for this task. The techniques that we discuss are (i) transmission electron microscopy methods, (ii) X-ray spectroscopy techniques, (iii) vibrational spectroscopy techniques and (iv) chemisorption methods. The description is coupled with developing an understanding of a number of preparation methods. In the final section the example of the supported AuPd alloy catalyst is discussed to show how the techniques can gain an understanding of an active oxidation catalyst.