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J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Dec 10;136(49):17193-200. doi: 10.1021/ja509214d. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

Structure, bonding, and catalytic activity of monodisperse, transition-metal-substituted CeO2 nanoparticles.

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Department of Chemistry, ‡Research Laboratory of Electronics, §Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and ∥Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, United States.


We present a simple and generalizable synthetic route toward phase-pure, monodisperse transition-metal-substituted ceria nanoparticles (M0.1Ce0.9O2-x, M = Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu). The solution-based pyrolysis of a series of heterobimetallic Schiff base complexes ensures a rigorous control of the size, morphology and composition of 3 nm M0.1Ce0.9O2-x crystallites for CO oxidation catalysis and other applications. X-ray absorption spectroscopy confirms the dispersion of aliovalent (M(3+) and M(2+)) transition metal ions into the ceria matrix without the formation of any bulk transition metal oxide phases, while steady-state CO oxidation catalysis reveals an order of magnitude increase in catalytic activity with copper substitution. Density functional calculations of model slabs of these compounds confirm the stabilization of M(3+) and M(2+) in the lattice of CeO2. These results highlight the role of the host CeO2 lattice in stabilizing high oxidation states of aliovalent transition metal dopants that ordinarily would be intractable, such as Cu(3+), as well as demonstrating a rational approach to catalyst design. The current work demonstrates, for the first time, a generalizable approach for the preparation of transition-metal-substituted CeO2 for a broad range of transition metals with unparalleled synthetic control and illustrates that Cu(3+) is implicated in the mechanism for CO oxidation on CuO-CeO2 catalysts.


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