3 years ago

Increasing Oxide Reducibility: The Role of Metal/Oxide Interfaces in the Formation of Oxygen Vacancies

Increasing Oxide Reducibility: The Role of Metal/Oxide Interfaces in the Formation of Oxygen Vacancies
Sergio Tosoni, Gianfranco Pacchioni, Philomena Schlexer, Antonio Ruiz Puigdollers
Reducibility is an essential characteristic of oxide catalysts in oxidation reactions following the Mars–van Krevelen mechanism. A typical descriptor of the reducibility of an oxide is the cost of formation of an oxygen vacancy, which measures the tendency of the oxide to lose oxygen or to donate it to an adsorbed species with consequent change in the surface composition, from MnOm to MnOmx. The oxide reducibility, however, can be modified in various ways: for instance, by doping and/or nanostructuring. In this review we consider an additional aspect, related to the formation of a metal/oxide interface. This can be realized when small metal nanoparticles are deposited on the surface of an oxide support or when a nanostructured oxide, either a nanoparticle or a thin film, is grown on a metal. In the past decade, both theory and experiment indicate a particularly high reactivity of the oxygen atoms at the boundary region between a metal and an oxide. Oxygen atoms can be removed from interface sites at much lower cost than in other regions of the surface. This can alter completely the reactivity of a solid catalyst. In this respect, reducibility of the bulk material may differ completely from that of the metal/oxide surface. The atomistic study of CO oxidation and water-gas shift reactions are used as examples to provide compelling evidence that the oxidation occurs at specific interface sites, the actual active sites in the complex catalyst. Combining oxide nanostructuring with metal/oxide interfaces opens promising perspectives to turn hardly reducible oxides into reactive materials in oxidation reactions based on the Mars–van Krevelen mechanism.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.7b01913

DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b01913

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