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Double-aberration corrected TEM/STEM of solid acid nanocatalysts in the development of pharmaceutical NSAIDS

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
DatePublished - 1 Jan 2012
Original languageEnglish


We report nanostructural and physico-chemical studies in the development of an efficient low temperature heterogeneous catalytic process for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (paracetamol or acetaminophen) on tungstated zirconia nanocatalysts. Using a double-aberration corrected TEM/STEM, modified in-house for in-situ studies at the sub-Angstrom level, we directly observed in real-time, the dynamic precursor transformation to the active catalyst. We quantified the observations with catalytic activity studies for the NSAIDS. The studies have provided the direct evidence for single tungsten promoter atoms and surface WO species of ≤ 0.35 nm, with nanoclusters of WO (0.6 to 1nm), located at grain boundaries on the surface of the zirconia nanoparticles. The correlation between the nanostructure and catalytic activity indicates that the species create Brønsted acid sites highly active for the low temperature process. The results open up opportunities for developing green heterogeneous methods for pharmaceuticals.

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