Issue 32, 2020

Ion-molecule reactions catalyzed by a single gold atom


We report that Au atoms within van der Waals complexes serve as catalysts for the first time. This was observed in ionization-induced chemistry of 1,6-hexanediol–Au and 1,8-octanediol–Au complexes formed in superfluid helium nanodroplets, where the addition of Au atom(s) made C2H4+ the sole prominent product in dissociative reactions. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations showed that the Au atom significantly strengthens all of the C–C bonds and weakens the C–O bonds in the meantime, making the C–C bonds stronger than the two C–O bonds in the ionized complexes. This leads to a preferential cleavage of the C–O bonds and thus a strong catalytic effect of the Au atoms in the reactions.

Graphical abstract: Ion-molecule reactions catalyzed by a single gold atom

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Article information

Article type
Edge Article
25 Jun 2020
27 Jul 2020
First published
27 Jul 2020
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2020,11, 8502-8505

Ion-molecule reactions catalyzed by a single gold atom

S. Yang, H. Wu, Q. Luo, A. M. Al Hindawi, B. Sitorus, A. M. Ellis and J. Yang, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 8502 DOI: 10.1039/D0SC03523H

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