Alice Scarpellini, Liberato Manna, Tathiana M. Kokumai, Priscila Destro, Daniela Zanchet, Lea Pasquale, Massimo Colombo
The combination of two or more metals, forming alloys, core–shells, or other complex heterometallic nanostructures, has substantially spanned the available options to finely tune electronic and structural properties, opening a myriad of opportunities that has yet to be fully explored in different fields. In catalysis, the rational exploitation and design of bimetallic and trimetallic catalysts has just started. Several major aspects such as stability, phase segregation, and alloy–dealloy mechanisms have yet to be deeply understood and correlated with intrinsic factors such as nanoparticle size, composition, and structure and with extrinsic factors, or external agents, such as temperature, reaction gases, and support. Here, by combining model catalysts based on AuCu nanoparticles supported on silica or alumina with in situ characterization techniques under redox pretreatments and CO oxidation reaction, we demonstrate the crucial role of the support with regard to determining the stable active phase of bimetallic supported catalysts. This strategy, associated with theoretical studies, could lead to the rational design of unique active sites.