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Author ORCID ID is 0000000254511207
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  1. Heterogeneity in the structure of AuRh nanoparticles, synthesized with a microwave assisted method, is quantified using a combination of experimental methods and theory.
  2. Semiconductor nanocrystals serve as outstanding model systems for studying quantum confined size and shape effects. Shape control is an important knob for controlling their properties but so far it has been well developed mainly for heavy-metal containing semiconductor nanocrystals, limiting their further widespread utilization. We report a synthesis of heavy-metal free ZnSe nanocrystals with shape and size control through utilization of well-defined molecular clusters. In this approach, ZnSe nanowires are synthesized and their length and shape control is achieved by introduction of controlled amounts of molecular clusters. As a result of [Zn 4(SPh) 10](Me 4N) 2 clusters (Zn 4 clusters)more » addition, short ZnSe nanorods or ZnSe nanodots can be obtained through tuning the ratio of Zn 4 clusters to ZnSe. A study using transmission electron microscopy revealed the formation of a hybrid inorganic–organic nanowire, whereby the ligands form a template for self-assembly of ZnSe magic size clusters. The hybrid nanowire template becomes shorter and eventually disappears upon increasing amount of Zn 4 clusters in the reaction. The generality of the method is demonstrated by using isostructural [Cu 4(SPh) 6](Me 4N) 2 clusters, which presented a new approach to Cu doped ZnSe nanocrystals and provided also a unique opportunity to employ X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy for deciphering the changes in the local atomic-scale environment of the clusters and explaining their role in the process of the nanorods formation. The introduction of molecular clusters presented here opens a path for growth of colloidal semiconductor nanorods, expanding the palette of materials selection with obvious implications for optoelectronic and biomedical applications.« less
  3. Size-selected clusters, soft-landed on an oxide substrate, is a promising and highly tunable material for heterogeneous catalysis. Agglomeration of the deposited clusters, however, leads to changes in the particle properties and structure. The latter for such cluster assemblies can also be different from that in self-standing nanoparticles of similar sizes. To monitor the formation of such complex materials, in situ studies at different length scales are required. Toward that goal, we combined small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, ab initio simulations, and machine learning (artificial neural network) techniques. We detected significant differences between the sizes ofmore » particle agglomerates, as probed by SAXS, and the sizes of locally ordered regions, as seen by XANES. Here, we interpret these differences as an evidence for the fractal, grape-cluster-like structure of the agglomerates; thus, XANES and SAXS provide highly complementary structural information. Lastly, this finding can have a profound effect on our understanding of particle sintering and assembly processes and of structure–properties relationship in ultradispersed metal catalysts in reaction conditions.« less
  4. In this report we examine the structure of bimetallic nanomaterials prepared by an electrochemical approach known as hydride-terminated (HT) electrodeposition. It has been shown previously that this method can lead to deposition of a single Pt monolayer on bulk-phase Au surfaces. Specifically, under appropriate electrochemical conditions and using a solution containing PtCl 4 2-, a monolayer of Pt atoms electrodeposits onto bulk-phase Au immediately followed by a monolayer of H atoms. The H-atom capping layer prevents deposition of Pt multilayers. We applied this method to ~1.6 nm Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) immobilized on an inert electrode surface. In contrast to themore » well-defined, segregated Au/Pt structure of the bulk-phase surface, we observe that HT electrodeposition leads to the formation of AuPt quasi-random alloy NPs rather than the core@shell structure anticipated from earlier reports relating to deposition onto bulk phases. The results provide a good example of how the phase behavior of macro materials does not always translate to the nano world. A key component of this study was the structure determination of the AuPt NPs, which required a combination of electrochemical methods, electron microscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and theory (DFT and MD).« less
  5. The knowledge of coordination environment around various atomic species in many functional materials provides a key for explaining their properties and working mechanisms. Many structural motifs and their transformations are difficult to detect and quantify in the process of work (operando conditions), due to their local nature, small changes, low dimensionality of the material, and/or extreme conditions. Here we use artificial neural network approach to extract the information on the local structure and its in-situ changes directly from the X-ray absorption fine structure spectra. We illustrate this capability by extracting the radial distribution function (RDF) of atoms in ferritic andmore » austenitic phases of bulk iron across the temperature-induced transition. Integration of RDFs allows us to quantify the changes in the iron coordination and material density, and to observe the transition from body-centered to face-centered cubic arrangement of iron atoms. Furthermore, this method is attractive for a broad range of materials and experimental conditions« less
  6. Here, we report the development, testing, and demonstration of a setup for modulation excitation spectroscopy experiments at the Inner Shell Spectroscopy beamline of National Synchrotron Light Source - II. A computer algorithm and dedicated software were developed for asynchronous data processing and analysis. We demonstrate the reconstruction of X-ray absorption spectra for different time points within the modulation pulse using a model system. This setup and the software are intended for a broad range of functional materials which exhibit structural and/or electronic responses to the external stimulation, such as catalysts, energy and battery materials, and electromechanical devices.
  7. Here, mesoporous Co/CeO 2 catalysts were found to exhibit significant activity for the high-temperature water-gas shift (WGS) reaction with cobalt loadings as low as 1 wt %. The catalysts feature a uniform dispersion of cobalt within the CeO 2 fluorite type lattice with no evidence of discrete cobalt phase segregation. In situ XANES and ambient pressure XPS experiments were used to elucidate the active state of the catalysts as partially reduced cerium oxide doped with oxidized cobalt atoms. In situ XRD and DRIFTS experiments suggest facile cerium reduction and oxygen vacancy formation, particularly with lower cobalt loadings. In situ DRIFTSmore » analysis also revealed the presence of surface carbonate and bidentate formate species under reaction conditions, which may be associated with additional mechanistic pathways for the WGS reaction. Deactivation behavior was observed with higher cobalt loadings. XANES data suggest the formation of small metallic cobalt clusters at temperatures above 400 °C may be responsible. Notably, this deactivation was not observed for the 1% cobalt loaded catalyst, which exhibited the highest activity per unit of cobalt.« less
  8. Alloy nanoparticle catalysts are known to afford unique activities that can differ markedly from their parent metals, but there remains a generally limited understanding of the nature of their atomic (and likely dynamic) structures as exist in heterogeneously supported forms under reaction conditions. Notably unclear is the nature of their active sites and the details of the varying oxidation states and atomic arrangements of the catalytic components during chemical reactions. In this work, we describe multimodal methods that provide a quantitative characterization of the complex heterogeneity present in the chemical and electronic speciations of Pt–Ni bimetallic catalysts supported on mesoporousmore » silica during the reverse water gas shift reaction. The analytical protocols involved a correlated use of in situ X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) and Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS), complimented by ex-situ aberration corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM). The data reveal that complex reactions occur between the metals and support in this system under operando conditions. These reactions, and the specific impacts of strong metal–silica bonding interactions, prevent the formation of alloy phases containing Ni–Ni bonds. This feature of structure provides high activity and selectivity for the reduction of CO 2 to carbon monoxide without significant competitive levels of methanation. In conclusion, we show how these chemistries evolve to the active state of the catalyst: bimetallic nanoparticles possessing an intermetallic structure (the active phase) that are conjoined with Ni-rich, metal-silicate species.« less
  9. The activation of methane and its dry reforming with CO 2 was systematically studied over a series (2–30 wt %) of Co (~5 nm in size) loaded CeO 2 catalysts, with an effort to elucidate the interplay between Co and CeO 2 during the catalytic process using in situ methods. The results of in situ time-resolved X-ray diffraction (TR-XRD) show a strong interaction of methane with the CoOx–CeO 2 systems at temperatures between 200 and 350 °C. The hydrogen produced by the dissociation of C–H bonds in methane leads to a full reduction of Co oxide, Co 3O 4more » CoO → Co, and a partial reduction of ceria with the formation of some Ce 3+. Upon the addition of CO 2, a catalytic cycle for dry reforming of methane (DRM) was achieved on the CoOx–CeO 2 powder catalysts at temperatures below 500 °C. A 10 wt % Co–CeO 2 catalyst was found to possess the best catalytic activity among various cobalt loading catalysts, and it exhibits a desirable stability for the DRM with a minimal effect of carbon accumulation. The phase transitions and the nature of active components in the catalyst were investigated under reaction conditions by in situ time-resolved XRD and ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (AP-XPS). These studies showed dynamic evolutions in the chemical composition of the catalysts under reaction conditions. CO 2 attenuated the reducing effects of methane. Under optimum CO- and H 2-producing conditions, both XRD and AP-XPS indicated that the active phase involved a majority of metallic Co with a small amount of CoO, both supported on a partially reduced ceria (Ce 3+/Ce 4+). Finally, we identified the importance of dispersing Co, anchoring it onto the ceria surface sites, and then utilizing the redox properties of CeO 2 for activating and then oxidatively converting methane while inhibiting coke formation. Furthermore, a synergistic effect between cobalt and ceria and likely the interfacial sitee are essential to successfully close the catalytic cycle.« less
    Cited by 1
  10. Here, the size and morphology of metal nanoparticles (NPs) often play a critical role in defining the catalytic performance of supported metal nanocatalysts. However, common synthetic methods struggle to produce metal NPs of appropriate size and morphological control. Thus, facile synthetic methods that offer controlled catalytic functions are highly desired. Here we have identified a new pathway to synthesize supported Rh nanocatalysts with finely tuned spatial dimensions and controlled morphology using a doping-segregation method. We have analyzed their structure evolutions during both the segregation process and catalytic reaction using a variety of in situ spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. A correlationmore » between the catalytic functional sites and activity in CO 2 hydrogenation over supported Rh nanocatalysts is then established. This study demonstrates a facile strategy to design and synthesize nanocatalysts with desired catalytic functions.« less

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