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J Phys Chem B. 2005 Feb 17;109(6):2192-202.

High-surface-area catalyst design: Synthesis, characterization, and reaction studies of platinum nanoparticles in mesoporous SBA-15 silica.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Platinum nanoparticles in the size range of 1.7-7.1 nm were produced by alcohol reduction methods. A polymer (poly(vinylpyrrolidone), PVP) was used to stabilize the particles by capping them in aqueous solution. The particles were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). TEM investigations demonstrate that the particles have a narrow size distribution. Mesoporous SBA-15 silica with 9-nm pores was synthesized by a hydrothermal process and used as a catalyst support. After incorporation into mesoporous SBA-15 silica using low-power sonication, the catalysts were calcined to remove the stabilizing polymer from the nanoparticle surface and reduced by H2. Pt particle sizes determined from selective gas adsorption measurements are larger than those determined by bulk techniques such as XRD and TEM. Room-temperature ethylene hydrogenation was chosen as a model reaction to probe the activity of the Pt/SBA-15 materials. The reaction was shown to be structure insensitive over a series of Pt/SBA-15 materials with particle sizes between 1.7 and 3.6 nm. The hydrogenolysis of ethane on Pt particles from 1.7 to 7.1 nm was weakly structure sensitive with smaller particles demonstrating higher specific activity. Turnover rates for ethane hydrogenolysis increased monotonically with increasing metal dispersion, suggesting that coordinatively unsaturated metal atoms present in small particles are more active for C2H6 hydrogenolysis than the low index planes that dominate in large particles. An explanation for the structure sensitivity is suggested, and the potential applications of these novel supported nanocatalysts for further studies of structure-activity and structure-selectivity relationships are discussed.


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