Design of ruthenium/iron oxide nanoparticle mixtures for hydrogenation of nitrobenzene†
Here we report novel catalysts for nitrobenzene hydrogenation based on Ru/RuO2 nanoparticles (NPs) and including iron oxide NPs, allowing magnetic recovery. The solvent type, reaction temperature, and the size and composition of initial iron oxide NPs are demonstrated to be the control factors determining synthesis outcomes including the degree of NP aggregation and catalytic properties. A complete characterization of the catalysts using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) allowed assessment of the structure–property relationships. It is revealed that coexistence of the Ru/RuO2 and iron oxide NPs in the catalyst as well as the proximity of two different NP types lead to significantly higher aniline yields and reaction rates. The catalytic properties are also influenced by the type of iron oxide NPs present in the catalytic samples.