We showed that alumina (Al2O3) overcoating of supported metal nanoparticles (NPs) effectively reduced deactivation by coking and sintering in high-temperature applications of heterogeneous catalysts. We overcoated palladium NPs with 45 layers of alumina through an atomic layer deposition (ALD) process that alternated exposures of the catalysts to trimethylaluminum and water at 200°C. When these catalysts were used for 1 hour in oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane to ethylene at 650°C, they were found by thermogravimetric analysis to contain less than 6% of the coke formed on the uncoated catalysts. Scanning transmission electron microscopy showed no visible morphology changes after reaction at 675°C for 28 hours. The yield of ethylene was improved on all ALD Al2O3 overcoated Pd catalysts.
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