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Surface Science Perspectives Dispersed Au atoms, supported on TiO2(110)

Summary: Surface Science Perspectives
Dispersed Au atoms, supported on TiO2(110)
Ulrike Diebold *
Department of Physics, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Received 5 January 2005; accepted for publication 12 January 2005
Keywords: Low-energy ion scattering (LEIS); X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS); Catalysis; Gold; Titanium oxide; Surface
At the end of the 1980s Haruta and coworkers made an exciting discovery [1]: nanosized, supported gold
clusters exhibit unique catalytic properties. Gold is normally quite inert, but in the form of tiny clumps on a
metal oxide or other support, it can oxidize CO and catalyze a variety of other industrially important reac-
tions at remarkably low temperatures.
The discovery has caused some excitement in the surface science community: finding out how this works
and how to make it work better appears to be an almost ideal puzzle for surface science.
So, what is the mechanism that makes something as inert as gold a very active catalyst, with, for exam-
ple, an almost negligible activation energy for the oxidation of carbon monoxide? Many factors could con-
tribute. For example, the perimeter of the nanoclusters could be especially active for the activation of
oxygen [2,3], while special atoms (at edges? at corners? [4]) could provide good adsorption sites for the
CO. It could also be that the active clusters have a special electronic structure, an idea propagated by
GoodmanÕs group [5,6]. It is possible that the charge of the Au clusters is critical [7,8] and/or that the cluster
needs to sit at a special site (such as a defect) on the metal oxide support [9]. Possibly, the clusters need to


Source: Anderson, Scott L. - Department of Chemistry, University of Utah
Diebold, Ulrike - Department of Physics, Tulane University


Collections: Chemistry; Energy Storage, Conversion and Utilization; Materials Science; Physics