The dynamic nature of Cu sites in Cu-SSZ-13 and the origin of the seagull NOx conversion profile during NH3-SCR†
Cu-Zeolites with chabazite structure show a peculiar dual-maxima NO conversion profile, also known as a seagull profile, during the selective catalytic reduction by ammonia. In order to understand the origin of this behavior, systematic catalytic tests and operando spectroscopy were applied to derive structure–performance relationships for Cu-SSZ-13 catalysts with low and high Cu loading. Operando X-ray absorption, X-ray emission and in situ electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy measurements, including novel photon-in/photon-out techniques, demonstrated the interconversion of isolated Cu sites and dimeric bis(μ-oxo) Cu species, the former occurring via formation of ammonia Cu2+/Cu+ complexes and the latter in an oxidizing gas mixture. The formation of dimeric Cu+–O2–Cu+ species by involving Cu sites in close vicinity was linked to the high activity at low temperatures of the highly loaded Cu-SSZ-13 sample. In contrast, the isolated Cu sites present at very low Cu loadings are strongly poisoned by adsorbed NH3. The activity decrease around 350 °C that gives rise to the seagull shaped NO conversion profile could be attributed to a more localized structure of mono(μ-oxo)dicopper complexes. Above this temperature, which corresponds to partial NH3 desorption from Cu sites, the isolated Cu sites migrate to form additional dimeric entities thus recovering the SCR activity.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Selective catalytic reduction of NOx