Active site densities, oxygen activation and adsorbed reactive oxygen in alcohol activation on npAu catalysts
The activation of molecular O2 as well as the reactivity of adsorbed oxygen species is of central importance in aerobic selective oxidation chemistry on Au-based catalysts. Herein, we address the issue of O2 activation on unsupported nanoporous gold (npAu) catalysts by applying a transient pressure technique, a temporal analysis of products (TAP) reactor, to measure the saturation coverage of atomic oxygen, its collisional dissociation probability, the activation barrier for O2 dissociation, and the facility with which adsorbed O species activate methanol, the initial step in the catalytic cycle of esterification. The results from these experiments indicate that molecular O2 dissociation is associated with surface silver, that the density of reactive sites is quite low, that adsorbed oxygen atoms do not spill over from the sites of activation onto the surrounding surface, and that methanol reacts quite facilely with the adsorbed oxygen atoms. In addition, the O species from O2 dissociation exhibits reactivity for the selective oxidation of methanol but not for CO. The TAP experiments also revealed that the surface of the npAu catalyst is saturated with adsorbed O under steady state reaction conditions, at least for the pulse reaction.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Designing New Heterogeneous Catalysts