Synthesis of Supported Pd0 Nanoparticles from a Single-Site Pd2+ Surface Complex by Alkene Reduction

Aidan R. Mouat, Cassandra L. Whitford, Bor Rong Chen, Shengsi Liu, Frédéric A. Perras, Marek Pruski, Michael J. Bedzyk, Massimiliano Delferro, Peter C. Stair, Tobin J. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A surface metal-organic complex, (-AlOx)Pd(acac) (acac = acetylacetonate), is prepared by chemically grafting the precursor Pd(acac)2 onto γ-Al2O3 in toluene at 25 °C. The resulting surface complex is characterized by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), and dynamic nuclear polarization surface-enhanced solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (DNP SENS). This surface complex is a precursor in the direct synthesis of size-controlled Pd nanoparticles under mild reductive conditions and in the absence of additional stabilizers or pretreatments. Indeed, upon exposure to gaseous ethylene or liquid 1-octene at 25 °C, the Pd2+ species is reduced to form Pd0 nanoparticles with a mean diameter of 4.3 ± 0.6 nm, as determined by scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). These nanoparticles are catalytically relevant using the aerobic 1-phenylethanol oxidation as a probe reaction, with rates comparable to a conventional Pd/Al2O3 catalyst but without an induction period. Diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) and temperature-programmed reaction mass spectrometry (TPR-MS) reveal that the surface complex reduction with ethylene coproduces H2, acetylene, and 1,3-butadiene. This process reasonably proceeds via an olefin activation/coordination/insertion pathway, followed by β-hydride elimination to generate free Pd0. The well-defined nature of the single-site supported Pd2+ precursor provides direct mechanistic insights into this unusual and likely general reductive process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1032-1044
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 13 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry

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