Research Article


2020, 13(8): 2044–2055


Facile synthesis of Au embedded CuOx–CeO2 core/shell nanospheres as highly reactive and sinter-resistant catalysts for catalytic hydrogenation of p-nitrophenol

Ke Wu1,§, Xin-Yu Wang1,§, Ling-Ling Guo2, Yue-Jiao Xu1, Liang Zhou1, Ze-Yu Lyu1, Kang-Yu Liu1, Rui Si2, Ya-Wen Zhang1, Ling-Dong Sun1 (), and Chun-Hua Yan1,3 ()

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Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Materials Chemistry and Applications, PKU-HKU Joint Laboratory in Rare Earth Materials and Bioinorganic Chemistry, and College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China 

2 Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201204, China 

3 College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China 

§ Ke Wu and Xin-Yu Wang contributed equally to this work.

Keywords: core/shell nanostructure, sinter-resistant catalysts, triphasic interfaces catalysis, p-nitrophenol reduction
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Exploring cost-effective catalysts with high catalytic performance and long-term stability has always been a general concern for environment protection and energy conversion. Here, Au nanoparticles (NPs) embedded CuOx–CeO2 core/shell nanospheres (Au@CuOx–CeO2 CSNs) have been successfully prepared through a versatile one-pot method at ambient conditions. The spontaneous auto-redox reaction between HAuCl4 and Ce(OH)3 in aqueous solution triggered the self-assembly growth of micro-/ nanostructural Au@CuOx–CeO2 CSNs. Meanwhile, the CuOx clusters in Au@CuOx–CeO2 CSNs are capable of improving the anti-sintering ability of Au NPs and providing synergistic catalysis benefits. As a result, the confined Au NPs exhibited extraordinary thermal stability even at a harsh thermal condition up to 700 C. In addition, before and after the severe calcination process, Au@CuOx–CeO2 CSNs can exhibit enhanced catalytic activity and excellent recyclability towards the hydrogenation of p-nitrophenol compared to previously reported nanocatalysts. The synergistic catalysis path between Au/CuOx/CeO2 triphasic interfaces was revealed by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The CuOx clusters around the embedded Au NPs can provide moderate adsorption strength of p-nitrophenol, while the adjacent CeO2-supported Au NPs can facilitate the hydrogen dissociation to form H* species, which contributes to achieve the efficient reduction of p-nitrophenol. This study opens up new possibilities for developing high-efficient and sintering-resistant micro-/nanostructural nanocatalysts by exploiting multiphasic systems.
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Facile synthesis of Au embedded CuOx–CeO2 core/shell nanospheres as highly reactive and sinter-resistant catalysts for catalytic hydrogenation of p-nitrophenol. Nano Res. 2020, 13(8): 2044–2055

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