Shape Changes of Supported Rh Nanoparticles During Oxidation and Reduction Cycles

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Science  19 Sep 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5896, pp. 1654-1658
DOI: 10.1126/science.1160845

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The microscopic insight into how and why catalytically active nanoparticles change their shape during oxidation and reduction reactions is a pivotal challenge in the fundamental understanding of heterogeneous catalysis. We report an oxygen-induced shape transformation of rhodium nanoparticles on magnesium oxide (001) substrates that is lifted upon carbon monoxide exposure at 600 kelvin. A Wulff analysis of high-resolution in situ x-ray diffraction, combined with transmission electron microscopy, shows that this phenomenon is driven by the formation of a oxygen–rhodium–oxygen surface oxide at the rhodium nanofacets. This experimental access into the behavior of such nanoparticles during a catalytic cycle is useful for the development of improved heterogeneous catalysts.

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