Enhancing bimetallic synergy with light: the effect of UV light pre-treatment on catalytic oxygen activation by bimetallic Au–Pt nanoparticles on a TiO2 support†
UV light pre-treatment was examined as a means of enriching the catalytic activation of oxygen by bimetallic AuPt deposits loaded on TiO2. The rate of catalytic oxygen activation was assessed by monitoring the rate of formic acid oxidation in an aqueous system. A catalytic synergy was observed to exist for the bimetallic AuPt on TiO2 and was governed by the Au–Pt structure and ratio. The extent of the synergy was further enhanced upon UV light pre-treatment. Exceptional improvements in bimetallic catalysts are often simply attributed to a synergy effect, which is not necessarily well-understood. The Au–Pt bimetallic synergy and UV light pre-illumination phenomena were probed using high-end characterisation tools in conjunction with first principle calculations with the effects attributed to a combined influence of work-function difference and lattice mismatch between Au and Pt. Understanding the origin of bimetallic synergism is a critical step toward developing advanced catalysts.