Yanan Gao

Research project Emiel Hensen / Yanan Gao

Study on spinel supported gold catalysts for alcohol oxidation reactions


Gold had been regarded as an inactive metal in catalysis due to its inert chemical nature. However, it was found that when gold is prepared as nanoparticles, it can exhibit surprisingly high activity for various reactions, especially for oxidation reactions [1]. In order to obtain gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), support is commonly used, which can not only help to avoid agglomeration of AuNPs, but the metal-support interaction also plays an important role in reaction. Unfortunately, the underlying support effect and corresponding Au-support interaction are still unclear.                        

Spinel is an important material in catalysis, one interesting feature of which is that its redox properties can be readily altered by changing its composition and structure. Therefore, it is believed to be a good support for gold catalysis. Recently, Liu et al. found that Au/MgCuCr2O4 catalyst is highly efficient for ethanol oxidation, which can be attributed to the Au-Cu+ synergy [2]. Inspired by this, in this project spinel oxides will be used as support for AuNPs. We believe that this can open up a new route to explore new catalysts for oxidation reactions and investigate the underlying metal-support interaction.

                                                                                                                  Main goals of the project:

1.    Preparation and characterization of gold catalysts on different supports with different morphologies and compositions.

2.    Evaluation of the catalytic performance of prepared catalysts in alcohol (ethanol, cyclohexanol, etc) oxidations.

3.    Elucidation of the effect of structure, oxidation state, and morphology of catalysts on catalytic activity to give a clear picture on metal-support interaction.

Techniques used:

XRD, XPS, TPR, TEM, SEM, FT-IR, N2 physisorption, EXAFS, XANES

For further information:

Emiel Hensen (Helix, STW 3.35, Tel 5178, e.j.m.hensen@tue.nl)

Yanan Gao (Helix, STW 3.29, Tel 2275, y.gao@tue.nl)

[1] A. S. K. Hashmi, G. J. Hutchings, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 7896-7936.

[2] P. liu, E. J. M. Hensen. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 14032-14035.