Reversible Atomization and Nano-Clustering of Pt as a Strategy for Designing Ultra-Low-Metal-Loading Catalysts

Debasish Chakraborty, Thomas Erik Lyck Smitshuysen, Arvin Kakekhani, Sebastian Pirel Fredsgaard Jespersen, Sayan Banerjee, Alexander Krabbe, Nicolai Hagen, Hugo Silva, Justus Just, Christian Danvad Damsgaard, Stig Helveg, Andrew M. Rappe, Jens K. Nørskov, Ib Chorkendorff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Noble metal-based catalysts have numerous industrial uses, and maximum utilization of the precious metals by lowering the metal loading is of significant interest in heterogeneous catalysis research. However, lowering the metal loading could lead to single-Atom metal species formation, which may not be active for important reactions like propylene oxidation. We report a way to drastically reduce precious metal loading of catalysts by judiciously choosing an active metal/support pair and using the reversible atomization-nanoparticulate formation of transition metal on a high-surface area support. Here, Pt and MgAl2O4 are used as the transition metal and high-surface area support, respectively. Through catalytic testing and characterization using scanning transmission electron microscopy and synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy, a reversible change between atomization and nano-cluster formation under oxidizing and reducing conditions has been found. Via density functional theory, favorable sites for reversible Pt adsorption are identified, including ionic Pt4+ sites that can serve to nucleate nanoclusters. Catalytic reaction modeling also rationalizes the catalytic inertness of atomic Pt sites. Finally, a re-Activation mechanism for the atomized Pt based on gases present during reaction has been formulated and demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number38
Pages (from-to)16194-16203
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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