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Distinguishing molecular environments in supported Pt catalysts and their influences on activity and selectivity


This thesis entails the synthesis, automated catalytic testing, and in situ molecular characterization of supported Pt and Pt-alloy nanoparticle (NP) catalysts, with emphasis on how to assess the molecular distributions of Pt environments that are affecting overall catalytic activity and selectivity. We have taken the approach of (a) manipulating nucleation and growth of NPs using oxide supports, surfactants, and inorganic complexes to create Pt NPs with uniform size, shape, and composition, (b) automating batch and continuous flow catalytic reaction tests, and (c) characterizing the molecular environments of Pt surfaces using in situ infrared (IR) spectroscopy and solid-state 195Pt NMR. The following will highlight the synthesis and characterization of Ag-doped Pt NPs and their influence on C2H2 hydrogenation selectivity, and the implementation of advanced solid-state 195Pt NMR techniques to distinguish how distributions of molecular Pt environments vary with nanoparticle size, support, and surface composition.

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