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Nat Commun. 2018 Oct 26;9(1):4454. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06967-8.

Breaking the scaling relationship via thermally stable Pt/Cu single atom alloys for catalytic dehydrogenation.

Sun G1,2, Zhao ZJ1,2, Mu R1,2, Zha S1,2, Li L1,2, Chen S1,2, Zang K3, Luo J3, Li Z4, Purdy SC5, Kropf AJ6, Miller JT5, Zeng L1,2, Gong J7,8.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Chemical Engineering & Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 30072, P. R. China.
2
Collaborative Innovation Center for Chemical Science & Engineering (Tianjin), Tianjin, 30072, P. R. China.
3
Center for Electron Microscopy, Institute for New Energy Materials and Low-Carbon Technologies, School of Materials, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin, 300384, P. R. China.
4
Energy and Transportation Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, 37831, USA.
5
Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA.
6
Chemical Technology Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, 60439, USA.
7
Key Laboratory for Green Chemical Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Chemical Engineering & Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin, 30072, P. R. China. jlgong@tju.edu.cn.
8
Collaborative Innovation Center for Chemical Science & Engineering (Tianjin), Tianjin, 30072, P. R. China. jlgong@tju.edu.cn.

Abstract

Noble-metal alloys are widely used as heterogeneous catalysts. However, due to the existence of scaling properties of adsorption energies on transition metal surfaces, the enhancement of catalytic activity is frequently accompanied by side reactions leading to a reduction in selectivity for the target product. Herein, we describe an approach to breaking the scaling relationship for propane dehydrogenation, an industrially important reaction, by assembling single atom alloys (SAAs), to achieve simultaneous enhancement of propylene selectivity and propane conversion. We synthesize γ-alumina-supported platinum/copper SAA catalysts by incipient wetness co-impregnation method with a high copper to platinum ratio. Single platinum atoms dispersed on copper nanoparticles dramatically enhance the desorption of surface-bounded propylene and prohibit its further dehydrogenation, resulting in high propylene selectivity (~90%). Unlike previous reported SAA applications at low temperatures (<400 °C), Pt/Cu SAA shows excellent stability of more than 120 h of operation under atmospheric pressure at 520 °C.

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