The Promotional Effect of Gold in Catalysis by Palladium-Gold

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Science  14 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5746, pp. 291-293
DOI: 10.1126/science.1115800

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Acetoxylation of ethylene to vinyl acetate (VA) was used to investigate the mechanism of the promotional effect of gold (Au) in a palladium (Pd)-Au alloy catalyst. The enhanced rates of VA formation for low Pd coverages relative to high Pd coverages on Au single-crystal surfaces demonstrate that the critical reaction site for VA synthesis consists of two noncontiguous, suitably spaced, Pd monomers. The role of Au is to isolate single Pd sites that facilitate the coupling of critical surface species to product, while inhibiting the formation of undesirable reaction by-products.

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