Structural evolution of atomically dispersed Pt catalysts dictates reactivity.


Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA. [Email]


The use of oxide-supported isolated Pt-group metal atoms as catalytic active sites is of interest due to their unique reactivity and efficient metal utilization. However, relationships between the structure of these active sites, their dynamic response to environments and catalytic functionality have proved difficult to experimentally establish. Here, sinter-resistant catalysts where Pt was deposited uniformly as isolated atoms in well-defined locations on anatase TiO2 nanoparticle supports were used to develop such relationships. Through a combination of in situ atomic-resolution microscopy- and spectroscopy-based characterization supported by first-principles calculations it was demonstrated that isolated Pt species can adopt a range of local coordination environments and oxidation states, which evolve in response to varied environmental conditions. The variation in local coordination showed a strong influence on the chemical reactivity and could be exploited to control the catalytic performance.