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J Phys Chem B. 2006 May 18;110(19):9593-600.

Quantitative determination of the speciation of surface vanadium oxides and their catalytic activity.

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  • 1Operando Molecular Spectroscopy and Catalysis Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, 111 Research Drive, Iacocca Hall, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA.


A quantitative method based on UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) was developed that allows determination of the fraction of monomeric and polymeric VO(x) species that are present in vanadate materials. This new quantitative method allows determination of the distribution of monomeric and polymeric surface VO(x) species present in dehydrated supported V(2)O(5)/SiO(2), V(2)O(5)/Al(2)O(3), and V(2)O(5)/ZrO(2) catalysts below monolayer surface coverage when V(2)O(5) nanoparticles are not present. Isolated surface VO(x) species are exclusively present at low surface vanadia coverage on all the dehydrated oxide supports. However, polymeric surface VO(x) species are also present on the dehydrated Al(2)O(3) and ZrO(2) supports at intermediate surface coverage and the polymeric chains are the dominant surface vanadia species at monolayer surface coverage. The propane oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) turnover frequency (TOF) values are essentially indistinguishable for the isolated and polymeric surface VO(x) species on the same oxide support, and are also not affected by the Brønsted acidity or reducibility of the surface VO(x) species. The propane ODH TOF, however, varies by more than an order of magnitude with the specific oxide support (ZrO(2) > Al(2)O(3) >> SiO(2)) for both the isolated and polymeric surface VO(x) species. These new findings reveal that the support cation is a potent ligand that directly influences the reactivity of the bridging V-O-support bond, the catalytic active site, by controlling its basic character with the support electronegativity. These new fundamental insights about polymerization extent of surface vanadia species on SiO(2), Al(2)O(3), and ZrO(2) are also applicable to other supported vanadia catalysts (e.g., CeO(2), TiO(2), Nb(2)O(5)) as well as other supported metal oxide (e.g., CrO(3), MoO(3), WO(3)) catalyst systems.

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