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Nat Mater. 2008 Apr;7(4):333-8. doi: 10.1038/nmat2156. Epub 2008 Mar 16.

Ru-Pt core-shell nanoparticles for preferential oxidation of carbon monoxide in hydrogen.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Most of the world's hydrogen supply is currently obtained by reforming hydrocarbons. 'Reformate' hydrogen contains significant quantities of CO that poison current hydrogen fuel-cell devices. Catalysts are needed to remove CO from hydrogen through selective oxidation. Here, we report first-principles-guided synthesis of a nanoparticle catalyst comprising a Ru core covered with an approximately 1-2-monolayer-thick shell of Pt atoms. The distinct catalytic properties of these well-characterized core-shell nanoparticles were demonstrated for preferential CO oxidation in hydrogen feeds and subsequent hydrogen light-off. For H2 streams containing 1,000 p.p.m. CO, H2 light-off is complete by 30 (composite function)C, which is significantly better than for traditional PtRu nano-alloys (85 (composite function)C), monometallic mixtures of nanoparticles (93 (composite function)C) and pure Pt particles (170 ( composite function)C). Density functional theory studies suggest that the enhanced catalytic activity for the core-shell nanoparticle originates from a combination of an increased availability of CO-free Pt surface sites on the Ru@Pt nanoparticles and a hydrogen-mediated low-temperature CO oxidation process that is clearly distinct from the traditional bifunctional CO oxidation mechanism.


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