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J Phys Chem B. 2006 Nov 23;110(46):22982-6.

Discrimination of active palladium sites in catalytic liquid-phase oxidation of benzyl alcohol.


Knowledge of the structure of active sites is a prerequisite for the rational design of solid catalysts. Using site-selective blocking by CO and isotope labeling combined with in situ attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy, we were able to discriminate the different sites involved in the liquid-phase oxidation of benzyl alcohol on Pd/Al(2)O(3). The main reaction, that is, the oxidative dehydrogenation of the alcohol to the corresponding aldehyde, showed only little dependence on structure and occurred on all exposed Pd faces, whereas the undesired product decarbonylation occurred preferentially on hollow sites on (111) Pd faces. This explains why specific blocking of the latter sites, as realized in the industrially used Pd-Bi/Al(2)O(3) catalysts, leads to improved catalytic performance.


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