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The effects of particle composition on heterogeneous catalysis were studied using dendrimer-encapsulated nanoparticles (DENs) as precursors to supported Pt-Cu catalysts. Bimetallic Pt-Cu DENs with varying Pt/Cu ratios were prepared in an anaerobic aqueous solution and deposited onto a high-purity commercial alumina support. The dendrimer template was then thermally removed to yield supported nanoparticle catalysts, which were studied with toluene hydrogenation and CO oxidation catalysis as well as infrared spectroscopy of adsorbed CO. Incorporating Cu into Pt nanoparticles had opposite effects on the two test reactions. Cu acted as a mild promoter for CO oxidation catalysis, and the promoting effect was independent of the amount of Cu present. Conversely, Cu acted as a strong poison for toluene hydrogenation catalysis, and the normalized rate tracked inversely with Cu content. Infrared spectroscopy of the supported nanoparticles indicated that electronic effects (electron donation from Cu to Pt) were minimal for these materials. Consequently, the catalysis results are interpreted in terms of potential structural differences as a function of Cu incorporation and reaction conditions.




American Chemical Society

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Journal of Physical Chemistry B

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