Novel polyoxometalate silica nano-sized spheres: efficient catalysts for olefin oxidation and the deep desulfurization process†
A novel method to prepare silica nano-sized particles incorporating polyoxometalates was developed leading to a new efficient heterogeneous oxidative catalyst. Zinc-substituted polyoxotungstate [PW11Zn(H2O)O39]5− (PW11Zn) was encapsulated into silica nanoparticles using a cross-linked organic–inorganic core, performed through successive spontaneous reactions in water. The potassium salt of PW11Zn and the composite formed, PW11Zn-APTES@SiO2, were characterized by a myriad of solid-state methods such as FT-IR, FT-Raman, 31P and 13C CP/MAS solid-state NMR, elemental analysis and SEM-EDS, confirming the integrity of the PW11Zn structure immobilized in the silica nanoparticles. The new composite has shown to be a versatile catalyst for the oxidation of olefins and also to catalyze the desulfurization of a model oil using H2O2 as the oxidant and acetonitrile as the solvent. The novel composite material was capable of being recycled without significant loss of activity and maintaining its structural stability for consecutive desulfurization and olefin oxidative cycles.