Hydrogen spillover on Rh/TiO2: the FTIR study of donated electrons, co-adsorbed CO and H/D exchange†
Hydrogen dissociation and spillover on supported metal nanoparticles have received renewed interest because these chemical processes are closely related to applications in heterogeneous catalysis and hydrogen storage. In heterogeneous catalysis, spillover can control the reaction rate and selectivity of a wide range of reactions, e.g. hydrogenation, synthesis of methanol and hydroisomerization. In this work, we combine three spectroscopic approaches, i.e. the FT-IR spectroscopy of donated electrons, co-adsorbed CO and H/D exchange, to obtain detailed information on the dynamics of hydrogen interaction with a model 1.3% Rh/TiO2 catalyst. Our spectroscopic results helped us to build a physical picture of the processes occurring during the H-spillover on Rh/TiO2. It was found that molecular H2 dissociates on nanocrystalline Rh; H atoms spillover onto the titania thus protonating the semiconductor, while donating electrons to shallow trap (ST) states and the conduction band (CB) of TiO2. These donated electrons are observed by their specific IR features. By simultaneously monitoring the changes in the vibrational modes of CO, and, the infrared absorbance due to transitions involving CB and ST electrons, we found that both CO-reduced and partially re-oxidized Rh nanocrystallites promote the H-spillover and thus the n-doping of TiO2 materials. Upon evacuation, the process reverses: hydrogen atoms spillover back to Rh nanoparticles where they recombine to form H2 molecules that desorb from the surface. These new mechanistic insights into the process of H2 dissociation and spillover on the powder Rh/TiO2 catalyst call for further model surface science studies with model metal nanoparticle-single crystal substrate systems, in which a detailed picture of energetics and spatial distribution of hydrogen and injected electrons could be obtained.