Complementary Active Sites Cause Size-Selective Reactivity of Aluminum Cluster Anions with Water

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Science  23 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5913, pp. 492-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1165884

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The reactions of metal clusters with small molecules often depend on cluster size. The selectivity of oxygen reactions with aluminum cluster anions can be well described within an electronic shell model; however, not all reactions are subject to the same fundamental constraints. We observed the size selectivity of aluminum cluster anion reactions with water, which can be attributed to the dissociative chemisorption of water at specific surface sites. The reactivity depends on geometric rather than electronic shell structure. Identical arrangements of multiple active sites in Al16, Al17, and Al18 result in the production of H2 from water.

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