Coarsening of Pd nanoparticles in an oxidizing atmosphere studied by in situ TEM

Søren Bredmose Simonsen, Ib Chorkendorff, Søren Dahl, Magnus Skoglundh, Stig Helveg

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The coarsening of supported palladium nanoparticles in an oxidizing atmosphere was studied in situ by means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Specifically, the Pd nanoparticles were dispersed on a planar and amorphous Al2O3 support and were observed during the exposure to 10 mbar technical air at 650 °C. Time-resolved TEM image series reveal that the Pd nanoparticles were immobile and that a few percent of the nanoparticles grew or shrank, indicating a coarsening process mediated by the Ostwald ripening mechanism. The TEM image contrast suggests that the largest nanoparticles tended to wet the Al2O3 support to a higher degree than the smaller nanoparticles and that the distribution of projected particle sizes consequently broadens by the appearance of an asymmetric tail toward the larger particle sizes. A comparison with computer simulations based on a simple mean-field model for the Ostwald ripening process indicates that the observed change in the particle size distribution can be accounted for by wetting of the Al2O3 support by the larger Pd nanoparticles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSurface Science
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Sintering
  • Coarsening
  • Ostwald ripening
  • Palladium
  • In situ TEM
  • Catalyst deactivation


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