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J Chem Phys. 2012 Jan 21;136(3):034701. doi: 10.1063/1.3676259.

Monolayer dispersion of NiO in NiO/Al2O3 catalysts probed by positronium atom.

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Hubei Nuclear Solid Physics Key Laboratory, Department of Physics, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, People's Republic of China.


NiO/Al(2)O(3) catalysts with different NiO loadings were prepared by impregnation method. The monolayer dispersion capacity of NiO is determined to be about 9 wt.% through XRD quantitative phase analysis. Positron lifetime spectra measured for NiO/Al(2)O(3) catalysts comprise two long and two short lifetime components, where the long lifetimes τ(3) and τ(4) correspond to ortho-positronium (o-Ps) annihilation in microvoids and large pores, respectively. With increasing loading of NiO from 0 to 9 wt.%, τ(4) drops drastically from 88 to 38 ns. However, when the NiO loading is higher than 9 wt.%, τ(4) shows a slower decrease. Variation of λ(4) (1/τ(4)) as a function of the NiO content can be well fitted by two straight lines with different slopes. The relative intensity of τ(4) also shows a fast decrease followed by a slow decrease for the NiO content lower and higher than 9 wt.%, respectively. The coincidence Doppler broadening measurements reveal a continuous increase of S parameter with increasing NiO loading up to 9 wt.% and then a decrease afterwards. This is due to the variation in intensity of the narrow component contributed by the annihilation of para-positronium (p-Ps). Our results show that the annihilation behavior of positronium is very sensitive to the dispersion state of NiO on the surface of γ-Al(2)O(3). When the NiO loading is lower than monolayer dispersion capacity, spin conversion of positronium induced by NiO is the dominant effect, which causes decrease of the longest lifetime and its intensity but increase of the narrow component intensity. After the NiO loading is higher than monolayer dispersion capacity, the spin conversion effect becomes weaker and inhibition of positronium formation by NiO is strengthened, which results in decrease of both the long lifetime intensity and the narrow component intensity. The reaction rate constant is determined to be (1.50 ± 0.04) × 10(10) g mol(-1) s(-1) and (3.43 ± 0.20) × 10(9) g mol(-1) s(-1) for NiO content below and above monolayer dispersion capacity, respectively.

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