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Nanoporous Au: An unsupported pure gold catalyst?

: Wittstock, A.; Neumann, B.; Schaefer, A.; Dumbuya, K.; Kübel, C.; Biener, M.M.; Zielasek, V.; Steinrück, H.-P.; Gottfried, J.M.; Biener, J.; Hamza, A.; Bäumer, M.


Journal of physical chemistry. C, Nanomaterials and interfaces 113 (2009), No.14, pp.5593-5600
ISSN: 1932-7447
ISSN: 1932-7455
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

The unique properties of gold especially in low temperature CO oxidation have been ascribed to a combination of various effects. In particular, particle sizes below a few nanometers and specific particle-support interactions have been shown to play important roles. In contrast, recent reports revealed that monolithic nanoporous gold (npAu) prepared by leaching a less noble metal, such as Ag, out of the corresponding alloy can also exhibit a remarkably high catalytic activity for CO oxidation, even though no support is present. Therefore, it was claimed to be a pure and unsupported gold catalyst. We investigated npAu with respect to its morphology, surface composition, and catalytic properties. In particular, we studied the reaction kinetics for low temperature CO oxidation in detail, taking the mass transport limitation due to the porous structure of the material into account. Our results reveal that Ag, even if removed almost completely from the bulk, segregates to the surface, resulting in surface concentrations of up to 10 atom %. Our data suggest that this Ag plays a significant role in activating of molecular oxygen. Therefore, npAu should be considered a bimetallic catalyst rather than a pure Au catalyst.