Matching Items (21)

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Synthesis of Anchored Bimetallic Catalysts Via Epitaxy

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The development of thermodynamically stable supported bimetallic catalysts for high-temperature reaction is significant and highly desirable but remains a grand challenge. In this work, we report a novel approach that relies on the interaction of metal nanoparticles with the support

The development of thermodynamically stable supported bimetallic catalysts for high-temperature reaction is significant and highly desirable but remains a grand challenge. In this work, we report a novel approach that relies on the interaction of metal nanoparticles with the support material to form unique bimetallic nanoparticles, which epitaxially anchor onto the support surface. Such unique nanostructured systems are catalytically active and ultrastable during selected catalytic reactions. In this paper, we describe the synthesis processes of ultrastable PtZn nanoparticles epitaxially anchored onto ZnO nanowires, which primarily consist of {10−10} nanoscale facets. Such anchored PtZn nanoparticles demonstrated good stability during high temperature treatments and selected catalytic reactions. The synthesis approach reported in this work provides a new strategy to develop thermodynamically stable supported bimetallic catalysts.

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2016-06-17

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Atomic Scale Observation of Oxygen Delivery During Silver-Oxygen Nanoparticle Catalysed Oxidation of Carbon Nanotubes

Description

To probe the nature of metal-catalysed processes and to design better metal-based catalysts, atomic scale understanding of catalytic processes is highly desirable. Here we use aberration-corrected environmental transmission electron microscopy to investigate the atomic scale processes of silver-based nanoparticles, which

To probe the nature of metal-catalysed processes and to design better metal-based catalysts, atomic scale understanding of catalytic processes is highly desirable. Here we use aberration-corrected environmental transmission electron microscopy to investigate the atomic scale processes of silver-based nanoparticles, which catalyse the oxidation of multi-wall carbon nanotubes. A direct semi-quantitative estimate of the oxidized carbon atoms by silver-based nanoparticles is achieved. A mechanism similar to the Mars–van Krevelen process is invoked to explain the catalytic oxidation process. Theoretical calculations, together with the experimental data, suggest that the oxygen molecules dissociate on the surface of silver nanoparticles and diffuse through the silver nanoparticles to reach the silver/carbon interfaces and subsequently oxidize the carbon. The lattice distortion caused by oxygen concentration gradient within the silver nanoparticles provides the direct evidence for oxygen diffusion. Such direct observation of atomic scale dynamics provides an important general methodology for investigations of catalytic processes.

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2016-07-13

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FeOx-Supported Platinum Single-Atom and Pseudo-Single-Atom Catalysts for Chemoselective Hydrogenation of Functionalized Nitroarenes

Description

The catalytic hydrogenation of nitroarenes is an environmentally benign technology for the production of anilines, which are key intermediates for manufacturing agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and dyes. Most of the precious metal catalysts, however, suffer from low chemoselectivity when one or more

The catalytic hydrogenation of nitroarenes is an environmentally benign technology for the production of anilines, which are key intermediates for manufacturing agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and dyes. Most of the precious metal catalysts, however, suffer from low chemoselectivity when one or more reducible groups are present in a nitroarene molecule. Herein we report FeOx-supported platinum single-atom and pseudo-single-atom structures as highly active, chemoselective and reusable catalysts for hydrogenation of a variety of substituted nitroarenes. For hydrogenation of 3-nitrostyrene, the catalyst yields a TOF of ~1,500 h-1, 20-fold higher than the best result reported in literature, and a selectivity to 3-aminostyrene close to 99%, the best ever achieved over platinum group metals. The superior performance can be attributed to the presence of positively charged platinum centres and the absence of Pt–Pt metallic bonding, both of which favour the preferential adsorption of nitro groups.

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2014-12-03

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Stable and Solubilized Active Au Atom Clusters for Selective Epoxidation of Cis-Cyclooctene With Molecular Oxygen

Description

The ability of Au catalysts to effect the challenging task of utilizing molecular oxygen for the selective epoxidation of cyclooctene is fascinating. Although supported nanometre-size Au particles are poorly active, here we show that solubilized atomic Au clusters, present in

The ability of Au catalysts to effect the challenging task of utilizing molecular oxygen for the selective epoxidation of cyclooctene is fascinating. Although supported nanometre-size Au particles are poorly active, here we show that solubilized atomic Au clusters, present in ng ml-1 concentrations and stabilized by ligands derived from the oxidized hydrocarbon products, are active. They can be formed from various Au sources. They generate initiators and propagators to trigger the onset of the auto-oxidation reaction with an apparent turnover frequency of 440 s-1, and continue to generate additional initiators throughout the auto-oxidation cycle without direct participation in the cycle. Spectroscopic characterization suggests that 7–8 atom clusters are effective catalytically. Extension of work based on these understandings leads to the demonstration that these Au clusters are also effective in selective oxidation of cyclohexene, and that solubilized Pt clusters are also capable of generating initiators for cyclooctene epoxidation.

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2017-03-28

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Catalysis on Singly Dispersed Bimetallic Sites

Description

A catalytic site typically consists of one or more atoms of a catalyst surface that arrange into a configuration offering a specific electronic structure for adsorbing or dissociating reactant molecules. The catalytic activity of adjacent bimetallic sites of metallic nanoparticles

A catalytic site typically consists of one or more atoms of a catalyst surface that arrange into a configuration offering a specific electronic structure for adsorbing or dissociating reactant molecules. The catalytic activity of adjacent bimetallic sites of metallic nanoparticles has been studied previously. An isolated bimetallic site supported on a non-metallic surface could exhibit a distinctly different catalytic performance owing to the cationic state of the singly dispersed bimetallic site and the minimized choices of binding configurations of a reactant molecule compared with continuously packed bimetallic sites. Here we report that isolated Rh1Co3 bimetallic sites exhibit a distinctly different catalytic performance in reduction of nitric oxide with carbon monoxide at low temperature, resulting from strong adsorption of two nitric oxide molecules and a nitrous oxide intermediate on Rh1Co3 sites and following a low-barrier pathway dissociation to dinitrogen and an oxygen atom. This observation suggests a method to develop catalysts with high selectivity.

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2015-08-01

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Palladium-Platinum Core-Shell Icosahedra With Substantially Enhanced Activity and Durability Towards Oxygen Reduction

Description

Conformal deposition of platinum as ultrathin shells on facet-controlled palladium nanocrystals offers a great opportunity to enhance the catalytic performance while reducing its loading. Here we report such a system based on palladium icosahedra. Owing to lateral confinement imposed by

Conformal deposition of platinum as ultrathin shells on facet-controlled palladium nanocrystals offers a great opportunity to enhance the catalytic performance while reducing its loading. Here we report such a system based on palladium icosahedra. Owing to lateral confinement imposed by twin boundaries and thus vertical relaxation only, the platinum overlayers evolve into a corrugated structure under compressive strain. For the core-shell nanocrystals with an average of 2.7 platinum overlayers, their specific and platinum mass activities towards oxygen reduction are enhanced by eight- and sevenfold, respectively, relative to a commercial catalyst. Density functional theory calculations indicate that the enhancement can be attributed to the weakened binding of hydroxyl to the compressed platinum surface supported on palladium. After 10,000 testing cycles, the mass activity of the core-shell nanocrystals is still four times higher than the commercial catalyst. These results demonstrate an effective approach to the development of electrocatalysts with greatly enhanced activity and durability.

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2015-07-01

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Characterization of MBE-grown semiconductor materials for photovoltaic applications

Description

The research described in this dissertation involved the use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to characterize II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and dilute-nitride alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and intended for photovoltaic applications. The morphology

The research described in this dissertation involved the use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to characterize II-VI and III-V compound semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and dilute-nitride alloys grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and intended for photovoltaic applications. The morphology of CdTe QDs prepared by the post-annealing MBE method were characterized by various microscopy techniques including high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), and high-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM). Extensive observations revealed that the of QD shapes were not well-defined, and the QD size and spatial distribution were not determined by the amount of CdTe deposition. These results indicated that the formation of II-VI QDs using a post-annealing treatment did not follow the conventional growth mechanism for III-V and IV-IV materials. The structural properties of dilute-nitride GaAsNx films grown using plasma-assisted MBE were characterized by TEM and HAADF-STEM. A significant amount of the nitrogen incorporated into the dilute nitride films was found to be interstitial, and that fluctuations in local nitrogen composition also occurred during growth. Post-growth partial relaxation of strain resulted in the formation of {110}-oriented microcracks in the sample with the largest substitutional nitrogen composition. Single- and multi-layered InAs QDs grown on GaAsSb/GaAs composite substrates were investigated using HR-TEM and HAADF-STEM. Correlation between the structural and optoelectronic properties revealed that the GaAsSb barrier layers had played an important role in tuning the energy-band alignments but without affecting the overall structural morphology. However, according to both XRD measurement and electron microscopy the densities of dislocations increased as the number of QD layers built up. An investigation of near-wetting layer-free InAs QDs incorporated with AlAs/GaAs spacer layers was carried out. The microscopy observations revealed that both embedded and non-embedded near-wetting layer-free InAs QDs did not have well-defined shapes unlike conventional InAs QDs. According to AFM analysis and plan-view TEM characterization, the InAs QDs incorporated with spacer layers had smaller dot density and more symmetrical larger sizes with an apparent bimodal size distribution (two distinct families of large and small dots) in comparison with conventional InAs QDs grown without any spacer layer.

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2014

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Atomic level study of structural changes of TiO2 based photocatalysts during solar water splitting reactions using TEM

Description

Photocatalytic water splitting is a promising technique to produce H2 fuels from water using sustainable solar energy. To better design photocatalysts, the understanding of charge transfer at surfaces/interfaces and the corresponding structure change during the reaction is very important. Local

Photocatalytic water splitting is a promising technique to produce H2 fuels from water using sustainable solar energy. To better design photocatalysts, the understanding of charge transfer at surfaces/interfaces and the corresponding structure change during the reaction is very important. Local structural and chemical information on nanoparticle surfaces or interfaces can be achieved through characterizations on transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Emphasis should be put on materials structure changes during the reactions in their “working conditions”. Environmental TEM with in situ light illumination system allows the photocatalysts to be studied under light irradiation when exposed to H2O vapor. A set of ex situ and in situ TEM characterizations are carried out on typical types of TiO2 based photocatalysts. The observed structure changes during the reaction are correlated with the H2 production rate for structure-property relationships.

A surface disordering was observed in situ when well-defined anatase TiO2 rhombohedral nanoparticles were exposed to 1 Torr H2O vapor and 10suns light inside the environmental TEM. The disordering is believed to be related to high density of hydroxyl groups formed on surface oxygen vacancies during water splitting reactions.

Pt co-catalyst on TiO2 is able to split pure water producing H2 and O2. The H2 production rate drops during the reaction. Particle size growth during reaction was discovered with Z-contrast images. The particle size growth is believed to be a photo-electro-chemical Ostwald ripening.

Characterizations were also carried out on a more complicated photocatalyst system: Ni/NiO core/shell co-catalyst on TiO2. A decrease of the H2 production rate resulting from photo-corrosion was observed. The Ni is believed to be oxidized to Ni2+ by OH• radicals which are intermediate products of H2O oxidation. The mechanism that the OH• radicals leak into the cores through cracks on NiO shells is more supported by experiments.

Overall this research has done a comprehensive ex situ and in situ TEM characterizations following some typical TiO2 based photocatalysts during reactions. This research has shown the technique availability to study photocatalyst inside TEM in photocatalytic conditions. It also demonstrates the importance to follow structure changes of materials during reactions in understanding deactivation mechanisms.

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Date Created
2015

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Synthesis, characterization, and application of hollow carbon nanostructures

Description

This dissertation describes fundamental studies of hollow carbon nanostructures, which may be used as electrodes for practical energy storage applications such as batteries or supercapacitors. Electron microscopy is heavily utilized for the nanoscale characterization. To control the morphology of hollow

This dissertation describes fundamental studies of hollow carbon nanostructures, which may be used as electrodes for practical energy storage applications such as batteries or supercapacitors. Electron microscopy is heavily utilized for the nanoscale characterization. To control the morphology of hollow carbon nanostructures, ZnO nanowires serve as sacrificial templates. The first part of this dissertation focuses on the optimization of synthesis parameters and the scale-up production of ZnO nanowires by vapor transport method. Uniform ZnO nanowires with 40 nm width can be produced by using 1100 °C reaction temperature and 20 sccm oxygen flow rate, which are the two most important parameters.

The use of ethanol as carbon source with or without water steam provides uniform carbonaceous deposition on ZnO nanowire templates. The amount of as-deposited carbonaceous material can be controlled by reaction temperature and reaction time. Due to the catalytic property of ZnO surface, the thicknesses of carbonaceous layers are typically in nanometers. Different methods to remove the ZnO templates are explored, of which hydrogen reduction at temperatures higher than 700 °C is most efficient. The ZnO templates can also be removed under ethanol environment, but the temperatures need to be higher than 850 °C for practical use.

Characterizations of hollow carbon nanofibers show that the hollow carbon nanostructures have a high specific surface area (>1100 m2/g) with the presence of mesopores (~3.5 nm). The initial data on energy storage as electrodes of electrochemical double layer capacitors show that high specific capacitance (> 220 F/g) can be obtained, which is related to the high surface area and unique porous hollow structure with a thin wall.

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Date Created
2016

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Synthesis and functionalization of zinc oxide nanowires

Description

Zinc oxide nanowires ( NWs) have broad applications in various fields such as nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, piezoelectric nanogenerators, chemical/biological sensors, and heterogeneous catalysis. To meet the requirements for broader applications, the growth of high-quality ZnO NWs and functionalization of ZnO NWs

Zinc oxide nanowires ( NWs) have broad applications in various fields such as nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, piezoelectric nanogenerators, chemical/biological sensors, and heterogeneous catalysis. To meet the requirements for broader applications, the growth of high-quality ZnO NWs and functionalization of ZnO NWs are critical. In this work, specific types of functionalized ZnO NWs have been synthesized and correlations between specific structures and properties have been investigated. Deposition of δ-Bi2O3 (narrow band gap) epilayers onto ZnO (wide band gap) NWs improves the absorption efficiency of the visible light spectrum by 70%. Furthermore, the deposited δ-Bi2O3 grows selectively and epitaxially on the {11-20} but not on the {10-10} facets of the ZnO NWs. The selective epitaxial deposition and the interfacial structure were thoroughly investigated. The morphology and structure of the Bi2O3/ZnO nanocomposites can be tuned by controlling the deposition conditions.

Various deposition methods, both physical and chemical, were used to functionalize the ZnO NWs with metal or alloy nanoparticles (NPs) for catalytic transformations of important molecules which are relevant to energy and environment. Cu and PdZn NPs were epitaxially grown on ZnO NWs to make them resistant to sintering at elevated temperatures and thus improved the stability of such catalytic systems for methanol steam reforming (MSR) to produce hydrogen. A series of Pd/ZnO catalysts with different Pd loadings were synthesized and tested for MSR reaction. The CO selectivity was found to be strongly dependent on the size of the Pd: Both PdZn alloy and single Pd atoms yield low CO selectivity while Pd clusters give the highest CO selectivity.

By dispersing single Pd atoms onto ZnO NWs, Pd1/ZnO single-atom catalysts (SACs) was synthesized and their catalytic performance was evaluated for selected catalytic reactions. The experimental results show that the Pd1/ZnO SAC is active for CO oxidation and MSR but is not desirable other reactions. We further synthesized ZnO NWs supported noble metal (M1/ZnO; M=Rh, Pd, Pt, Ir) SACs and studied their catalytic performances for CO oxidation. The catalytic test data shows that all the fabricated noble metal SACs are active for CO oxidation but their activity are significantly different. Structure-performance relationships were investigated.

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Date Created
2017