Durable PROX catalyst based on gold nanoparticles and hydrophobic silica

Paco Laveille, Kevin Guillois, Alain Tuel, Corine Petit, Jean-Marie Basset, Valerie Caps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


3 nm gold nanoparticles (Au NP) obtained by direct chemical reduction of AuPPh3Cl in the presence of methyl-terminated silica exhibit superior durability for low temperature CO oxidation in the presence of hydrogen (PROX). The activity of hydrophobic Au/SiO2-R972 indeed appears much more stable with time-on-stream than those of the OH-terminated, hydrophilic Au/TiO2 and Au/Al2O3 catalysts, with similar Au NP size. This enhanced stability is attributed to the peculiar catalyst surface of Au/SiO2-R972. Not only may the support hydrophobicity concentrate and facilitate reactant adsorption and product desorption over Au NP, but methyl-terminated SiO2-R972 likely also inhibits carbonatation of the Au/support interface. Hence, at a temperature at which H2/H2O “cleaning” of the carbonate-contaminated Au/Al2O3 and Au/TiO2 surface is inefficient (< 100°C), passivated Au/SiO2-R972 displays much more stable PROX activity. Besides, the virtual absence of surface hydroxyl groups, which provide sites for water formation in H2/O2 atmospheres, can also account for the improved PROX selectivity (>85%) observed over Au/SiO2-R972. This new example, of CO oxidation activity of gold nanoparticles dispersed over a hydrophobic, “inert” support, clearly emphasizes the role of hydrogen as a promoter for the gold-catalyzed oxidation of CO at low temperature. Unlike support-mediated oxygen activation, hydrogen-only mediated oxygen activation takes full advantage of the hydrophobic surface, which is much more resistant against CO2 and thus remains free of poisonous carbonate species, as compared with hydroxyl-terminated catalysts. Hence, although the absence of surface hydroxyl groups prevents the hydrophobic Au/SiO2-R972 catalyst to reach the state-of-the-art activities initially displayed by Au/TiO2 and Au/Al2O3, it brings long-term stability with time-on-stream and superior selectivity, which opens up promising perspectives in the development of viable PROX catalysts based on gold.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3179-3182
Number of pages4
JournalChem. Commun.
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2016


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