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Langmuir. 2012 Apr 10;28(14):6045-51. doi: 10.1021/la205104q. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Interaction of Au with thin ZrO2 films: influence of ZrO2 morphology on the adsorption and thermal stability of Au nanoparticles.

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National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230029, China.


The model catalysts of ZrO(2)-supported Au nanoparticles have been prepared by deposition of Au atoms onto the surfaces of thin ZrO(2) films with different morphologies. The adsorption and thermal stability of Au nanoparticles on thin ZrO(2) films have been investigated using synchrotron radiation photoemission spectroscopy (SRPES) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The thin ZrO(2) films were prepared by two different methods, giving rise to different morphologies. The first method utilized wet chemical impregnation to synthesize the thin ZrO(2) film through the procedure of first spin-coating a zirconium ethoxide (Zr(OC(2)H(5))(4)) precursor onto a SiO(2)/Si(100) substrate at room temperature followed by calcination at 773 K for 12 h. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigations indicate that highly porous "sponge-like nanostructures" were obtained in this case. The second method was epitaxial growth of a ZrO(2)(111) film through vacuum evaporation of Zr metal onto Pt(111) in 1 × 10(-6) Torr of oxygen at 550 K followed by annealing at 1000 K. The structural analysis with low energy electron diffraction (LEED) of this film exhibits good long-range ordering. It has been found that Au forms smaller particles on the porous ZrO(2) film as compared to those on the ordered ZrO(2)(111) film at a given coverage. Thermal annealing experiments demonstrate that Au particles are more thermally stable on the porous ZrO(2) surface than on the ZrO(2)(111) surface, although on both surfaces, Au particles experience significant sintering at elevated temperatures. In addition, by annealing the surfaces to 1100 K, Au particles desorb completely from ZrO(2)(111) but not from porous ZrO(2). The enhanced thermal stability for Au on porous ZrO(2) can be attributed to the stronger interaction of the adsorbed Au with the defects and the hindered migration or coalescence resulting from the porous structures.


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