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Issue 41, 2019
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Selectivity for ethanol partial oxidation: the unique chemistry of single-atom alloy catalysts on Au, Ag, and Cu(111)

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Abstract

Recently, we found that the atomic ensemble effect is the dominant effect influencing catalysis on surfaces alloyed with strong- and weak-binding elements, determining the activity and selectivity of many reactions on the alloy surface. In this study we design single-atom alloys that possess unique dehydrogenation selectivity towards ethanol (EtOH) partial oxidation, using knowledge of the alloying effects from density functional theory calculations. We found that doping of a strong-binding single-atom element (e.g., Ir, Pd, Pt, and Rh) into weak-binding inert close-packed substrates (e.g., Au, Ag, and Cu) leads to a highly active and selective initial dehydrogenation at the α-C–H site of adsorbed EtOH. We show that many of these stable single-atom alloy surfaces not only have tunable hydrogen binding, which allows for facile hydrogen desorption, but are also resistant to carbon coking. More importantly, we show that a rational design of the ensemble geometry can tune the selectivity of a catalytic reaction.

Graphical abstract: Selectivity for ethanol partial oxidation: the unique chemistry of single-atom alloy catalysts on Au, Ag, and Cu(111)

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Article information


Submitted
02 May 2019
Accepted
15 May 2019
First published
15 May 2019

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019,7, 23868-23877
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Selectivity for ethanol partial oxidation: the unique chemistry of single-atom alloy catalysts on Au, Ag, and Cu(111)

H. Li, W. Chai and G. Henkelman, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, 7, 23868
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA04572D

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