Preparation of TiO2–ZrO2/Au/CeO2 hollow sandwich-like nanostructures for excellent catalytic activity and thermal stability†
This work reports a novel type of sandwich-like hollow Au-based nanocatalyst, including a TiO2–ZrO2 shell, a hollow CeO2 core and Au nanoparticles of 2–5 nm. Uniform crystal ceria hollow nanostructures were synthesized using a simple one-step hydrothermal method without a template. Then binary TiO2–ZrO2 coated Au nanocatalysts were prepared via a facile bottom-up synthesis method. The structural features of the catalysts were characterized by several techniques, including SEM, TEM, EDX, FTIR, BET, XRD, UV-vis and XPS analyses. Using the reduction of 4-nitrophenol by NaBH4 as a model reaction, the TiO2–ZrO2/Au/CeO2 microspheres showed a superior catalytic activity and thermal stability compared with a pure TiO2 or ZrO2 layer. In addition, TiO2–ZrO2/Au/CeO2 microspheres calcined at 700 °C presented the highest thermal stability and reactivity. These comparative results were mainly attributed to the synergistic effect among the mixed oxide, hollow CeO2 core and Au NPs and the sandwich-like structure. As a consequence, this unique nanocatalyst will open a promising route for the fabrication of hollow binary-metal-oxide materials for future research and has great potential for other applications.