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Issue 27, 2012
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γ-Al2−xMxOy (M = Ti4+ through Ga3+): potential pseudo-3D mesoporous materials with tunable acidity and electronic structure

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Abstract

A simple and highly efficient surfactant-free sol–gel process has been developed to obtain nanocrystalline mesoporous γ-Al2O3 and metal ion incorporated mesoporous γ-Al2O3 with general formula γ-Al2−xMxOy (where M = Ti4+ through Ga3+). Any one of the first row transition metal (TM) ions along with Ga3+ could be introduced into the γ-Al2O3 framework in a direct one-pot synthesis process. The generality of the present synthesis recipe for metal ion incorporation in γ-Al2O3 was demonstrated by preparation of an Al–Ga–M ternary oxide system with the metal ion composition of general formula Al9GaTM (TM = Ti4+ to Zn2+) and their characterization through various physicochemical and spectroscopic techniques. The mesoporous γ-Al2−xMxOy materials showed a BET surface area in the range of 200–400 m2 g−1 with a narrow pore size distribution. Wormhole mesoporosity makes the material pseudo-3D (p3D) with a small pore depth of few nm (<10 nm). Metal ions in γ-Al2O3 lead to changes in the acidity and electronic environment. XRD, TEM, and 27Al MAS NMR studies demonstrate that the sol–gel process and the disordered mesoporous structure allow Ga and TM ions to be highly distributed and integrated in the γ-Al2O3 framework. The efficacy of these materials in catalysis has been successfully evaluated for steam reforming of dimethylether: Ni, Cu and Zn containing Al9GaTM oxides showed high activity and stability. The smaller mesochannel depth (<10 nm) and pseudo-3D characteristics that arise due to the wormhole-type disordered mesoporous framework of these alumina materials facilitate mass transport through them without any leaching of metal ions out of the lattice and pore blocking during the reaction, which makes them attractive in catalysis. This preparation method is versatile enough to be used for a reproducible synthesis of metal ion incorporated mesoporous γ-Al2O3 by varying the metal content and their combinations, and it is expected that many other metal ions could be introduced into the lattice framework for a variety of applications by tuning acidity and electronic structure.

Graphical abstract: γ-Al2−xMxO3±y (M = Ti4+ through Ga3+): potential pseudo-3D mesoporous materials with tunable acidity and electronic structure

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Feb 2012, accepted on 16 Apr 2012 and first published on 18 Apr 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2JM31184D
Citation: J. Mater. Chem., 2012,22, 13484-13493

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    γ-Al2−xMxOy (M = Ti4+ through Ga3+): potential pseudo-3D mesoporous materials with tunable acidity and electronic structure

    T. Mathew, K. Sivaranjani, E. S. Gnanakumar, Y. Yamada, T. Kobayashi and C. S. Gopinath, J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 13484
    DOI: 10.1039/C2JM31184D

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