PdAu Alloy Nanoparticle Catalysts: Effective Candidates for Nitrite Reduction in Water


S. Seraj, Kunal, P., Li, H., Henkelman, G., Humphrey, S. M., and Werth, C. J., “PdAu Alloy Nanoparticle Catalysts: Effective Candidates for Nitrite Reduction in Water,” ACS Catalysis, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 3268-3276, 2017.


Well-defined palladium–gold nanoparticles (PdAuNPs) with randomly alloyed structures and broadly tunable compositions were studied in catalytic nitrite (NO2) reduction. The catalysts were synthesized using a microwave-assisted polyol coreduction method. PdxAu100–xNPs with systematically varied compositions (x = 18–83) were supported on amorphous silica (SiO2) and studied as model catalysts for aqueous NO2 reduction in a batch reactor, using H2 as the electron donor. The reactions followed pseudo-first-order kinetics for ≥80% NO2 conversion. The PdxAu100–xNP-SiO2 catalysts showed a volcano-like correlation between NO2 reduction activity and x; the highest activity was observed for Pd53Au47, with an associated first-order rate constant of 5.12 L min–1 gmetal–1. Alloy NPs with greater proportions of Au were found to reduce the loss in catalytic activity due to sulfide fouling. Density functional theory calculations indicate that this is because Au weakens sulfur binding at PdAuNP surfaces due to atomic ensemble, electronic, and strain effects and thus reduces sulfur poisoning. The environmental relevance of the most active supported catalyst was evaluated by subjecting it to five cycles of catalytic NO2 reduction. The catalytic activity decreased over multiple cycles, but analysis of the postreaction PdxAu100–xNP-SiO2 materials using complementary techniques indicated that there were no significant structural changes. Most importantly, we show that PdxAu100–xNP-SiO2 alloys are significantly more active NO2 reduction catalysts in comparison to pure Pd catalysts.


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