On the effect of atomic structure on the deactivation of catalytic gold nanoparticles

M.J. Walsh, P.L. Gai, E.D. Boyes

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Here we present atomic scale studies into the nature of both the internal structure and external surfaces of catalytic Au nanoparticles using aberration corrected in-situ electron microscopy. The activity of catalytic nanoparticles is thought to be highly sensitive to the particles' structure, meaning typical local atomic rearrangements are likely to significantly affect the overall performance of the catalyst. As-deposited Au nanoparticles are found to exhibit a variety of morphologies, with many being internally strained or highly stepped at the surface. Upon heating, surface atoms are observed to minimise the particles' surface energy by restructuring towards planar (111) facets, resulting in the removal of low co-ordinated sites thought to be crucial in catalysis by Au nanoparticles. These results suggest the process of surface energy minimisation made possible by heating may lead to a loss of active sites and consequently contribute to the deactivation of the catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberconference 1
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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