(684e) Synthesis of Oxide Nanocavities for Size-Selective Catalysis

Authors: 
Notestein, J. M., Northwestern University
Ray, N., Northwestern University
Lu, J., Argonne National Laboratory
Lee, S., Argonne National Laboratory
Elam, J., Argonne National Laboratory


Enzymes have been the inspiration for catalyst design and are
known for their reactant and product selectivity. For reactions not able to be
carried out in zeolites or other microporous solids, translating this size- or
shape-selectivity onto heterogeneous catalysts is a challenge. In this study,
we present first results on a route to incorporating size selectivity in an
arbitrary oxide catalyst. This approach involves templated atomic layer
deposition (ALD) on the surface of an existing catalyst, where bulky molecules
such as p-tertbutylcalix[4]arene or adamantanecarboxylic acid are immobilized on
the oxide catalyst surface and are used as templating agents. ALD's highly
conformal coverage and angstrom-level control over film thickness is ideal for this
application. After typically depositing less than 1.5 nm of an inert barrier
oxide, the subsequent removal of the molecular template generates nanoscale cavities
in the ALD layers, which we call nanocavities. Unlike previously reported
templated ALD where generated features are hundreds of nanometers to microns in
dimension, this templating process generates features that are 1-2 nm or less,
the range where size- and shape- selective catalysis can be carried out. The
catalysts are characterized throughout the synthesis process using DRUV-vis,
TGA, and N2 physisorption. The existence of the nanocavities is demonstrated
by QCM studies during synthesis, SAXS and TEM. Size selectivity of the
catalysts is demonstrated through selective photooxidation of benzyl alcohol,
1-hexanol and 2-adamantanol over what is normally a non-selective titania photocatalyst.
Results showed that 2-adamantanol accesses relatively little of the titania
surface when nanocavities deeper than ~0.5 nm are in place. In contrast, benzyl
alcohol and 1-hexanol are still relatively reactive with these nanocavities, allowing
for selective reaction of mixtures. This selective photocatalytic oxidation of
alcohols demonstrates how nanocavities can discriminate size and opens up
possibilities in designing multifunctional, all-oxide catalysts with properties
that begin to mimic enzymes, or bulk oxide catalysts with zeolite-like
selectivity.

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