skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on March 5, 2019

Title: Enhancing Cooperativity in Bifunctional Acid–Pd Catalysts with Carboxylic Acid-Functionalized Organic Monolayers

Here, cooperative catalysts containing a combination of noble metal hydrogenation sites and Bronsted acid sites are critical for many reactions, including the deoxygenation (DO) of biomass-derived oxygenates in the upgrading of pyrolysis oil. One route toward the design of cooperative catalysts is to tether two different catalytically active functions so that they are in close proximity while avoiding undesirable interactions that can block active sites. Here, we deposited carboxylic acid (CA)-functionalized organophosphonate monolayers onto Al 2O 3-supported Pd nanoparticle catalysts to prepare bifunctional catalysts containing both Bronsted acid and metal sites. Modification with phosphonic acids (PAs) improved activity and selectivity for gas-phase DO reactions, but the degree of improvement was highly sensitive to both the presence and positioning of the CA group, suggesting a significant contribution from both the PA and CA sites. Short spacer lengths of 1-2 methylene groups between the phosphonate head and CA tail were found to yield the best DO rates and selectivities, whereas longer chains performed similarly to self-assembled monolayers having alkyl tails. Results from a combination of density functional theory and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy suggested that the enhanced catalyst performance on the optimally positioned CAs was due to the generation of strong acidmore » sites on the Al 2O 3 support adjacent to the metal. Furthermore, the high activity of these sites was found to result from a hydrogen-bonded cyclic structure involving cooperativity between the phosphonate head group and CA tail function. More broadly, these results indicate that functional groups tethered to supports via organic ligands can influence catalytic chemistry on metal nanoparticles.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1932-7447
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Chemistry. C
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-7447
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; bi-functional catalysts; catalyst performance; catalytic chemistry; cyclic structures; improved activities; methylene groups; organic monolayers
OSTI Identifier: