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Cu and Ru Catalysts: Rational Design and Structural Evolution in CO Oxidation

Kang, Liqun; (2021) Cu and Ru Catalysts: Rational Design and Structural Evolution in CO Oxidation. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The research for surface active sites with outstanding catalytic activity and selectivity is continuing apace. The rationally designed catalyst with optimised energy level and geometric configuration is key to achieving novel reaction pathways with superior performance. Compared to the conventional supported nanomaterials as catalysts, single atomic site catalysts (SASCs) not only inherit the excellent recyclability but are also featured with ultimate atom efficiency, high structural uniformity and tunable coordination environment. These great advantages of SASCs are due to their unique atomic dispersion nature that preserves features of both heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts. Especially the homogeneity of SASC enables convincing identification and characterisation of real active sites, making it an ideal platform to establish the definitive structure-activity relationship and to validate reaction mechanisms. Therefore, rational designed SASC has become the most prominent material to fabricate desired active sites with outstanding catalytic activity and selectivity. In this thesis, chemical synthesis strategies and characterisation techniques for SASCs are carefully reviewed. The limitations and future perspectives from a subjective view of the current methodology are discussed in detail as well. As inspired by pioneers’ work, rational designed Ru and Cu SASCs are prepared to investigate their distinct relationships between catalyst structures and reaction behaviours during CO oxidation reaction. With the help of combined in situ characterisation techniques, the structural evolution of active sites for both Ru and Cu catalysts were carefully studied. In the first project, the ultimate rational design of Ru active centre is realised by building surface single-sites to mimic molecular Ru catalysts. Inspired by a homogeneous Ru(II) complex, an air-stable surface -[bipy-Ru(II)(CO)2Cl2] single-site is designed through precise engineering of geometric and electronic structures from -[bipy-Ru(III)Cl4]- site. Such Ru(II) single-site enable oxidation of CO while the Ru(III) site is completely inert, providing an excellent prototype of the synthetic strategy which is generally applicable to transition metals. The second project focuses on the electronic metal-support interactions (EMSI) which describe electron flow between metal sites and a metal oxide support. For CuO-CeO2 catalysts, the electron withdrawing effect on Cu species introduced by electrophilic Ce4+ is maximised for atomically dispersed Cu sites over CeO2 surface. Experiment evidence shows the energy levels of 3d orbitals of isolated Cu(I)/(II) sites are decreased by Ce4+ cations in the support framework. It is demonstrated by in situ study that a [Cu(I)O2]3- site on CeO2 could selectively adsorb molecular O2 and form a rarely reported electrophilic 2-O2 species, leading to ten times higher activity than CuO clusters in CO oxidation. The third project is derived from the previous study of CuO-CeO2 catalysts, in which an unbalanced electron transfer between Cu and Ce is observed for CuO clusters dominant samples. To explain the reaction pathway of CeO2 supported CuO clusters in CO oxidation, an electronic metal-support-carbon interaction (EMSCI) based on EMSI is proposed. In the CuO-CeO2 redox, an additional flow of electron from metallic Cu to surface carbon species is observed by combined in situ studies, providing a complete picture of the mass and electron flow in the catalytic redox cycles.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Cu and Ru Catalysts: Rational Design and Structural Evolution in CO Oxidation
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128742
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