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Berkeley Lab researchers report tandem catalysis in nanocrystal interfaces
Date:4/11/2011

rgy conversion and storage technologies," Yang says. "However, to significantly improve our capability of designing better catalysts, new concepts for the rational design and assembly of metalmetal oxide interfaces are needed."

Studies in recent years have shown that for nanocrystals, the size and shape specifically surface faceting with well-defined atomic arrangements can have an enormous impact on catalytic properties. This makes it easier to optimize nanocrystal catalysts for activity and selectivity than bulk-sized catalysts. Shape- and size-controlled metal oxide nanocrystal catalysts have shown particular promise.

"It is well-known that catalysis can be modulated by using different metal oxide supports, or metal oxide supports with different crystal surfaces," Yang says. "Precise selection and control of metal-metal oxide interfaces in nanocrystals should therefore yield better activity and selectivity for a desired reaction."

To determine whether the integration of two types of metal oxide interfaces on the surface of a single active metal nanocrystal could yield a novel tandem catalyst for multistep reactions, Yang and his coauthors used the Lamgnuir-Blodgett assembly technique to deposit nanocube monolayers of platinum and cerium oxide on a silica (silicon dioxide) substrate. The nanocube layers were each less than 10 nanometers thick and stacked one on top of the other to create two distinct metalmetal oxide interfaces platinum-silica and cerium oxide-platinum. These two interfaces were then used to catalyze two separate and sequential reactions. First, the cerium oxide-platinum interface catalyzed methanol to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen. These products then underwent ethylene hydroformylation through a reaction catalyzed by the platinum-silica interface. The final result of this tandem catalysis was propanal.

"The cubic shape of the nanocrystal layers is ideal for assembling metalmetal oxide interfac
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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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Berkeley Lab researchers report tandem catalysis in nanocrystal interfaces
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