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Molecules 2012, 17(2), 1716-1743; doi:10.3390/molecules17021716
Article

Chemisorption and Reactions of Small Molecules on Small Gold Particles

Received: 30 January 2012 / Revised: 1 February 2012 / Accepted: 2 February 2012 / Published: 9 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gold Catalysts)
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Abstract

The activity of supported gold particles for a number of oxidations and hydrogenations starts to increase dramatically as the size falls below ~3 nm. This is accompanied by an increased propensity to chemisorption, especially of oxygen and hydrogen. The explanation for these phenomena has to be sought in kinetic analysis that connects catalytic activity with the strength and extent of chemisorption of the reactants, the latter depending on the electronic structure of the gold atoms constituting the active centre. Examination of the changes to the utilisation of electrons as particle size is decreased points to loss of metallic character at about 3 nm, as energy bands are replaced by levels, and a band gap appears. Detailed consideration of the Arrhenius parameters (E and ln A) for CO oxidation points clearly to a step-change in activity at the point where metallic character is lost, as opposed to there being a monotonic dependence of rate on a physical property such as the fraction of atoms at corners or edges of particles. The deplorable scarcity of kinetic information on other reactions makes extension of this analysis difficult, but non-metallic behaviour is an unavoidable property of very small gold particles, and therefore cannot be ignored when seeking to explain their exceptional activity.
Keywords: catalysis; gold; chemisorptions; oxidation; hydrogenation; electrocatalysis catalysis; gold; chemisorptions; oxidation; hydrogenation; electrocatalysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Bond, G.C. Chemisorption and Reactions of Small Molecules on Small Gold Particles. Molecules 2012, 17, 1716-1743.

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