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Isolated Pd atoms in a silver matrix: Spectroscopic and chemical properties

MPS-Authors
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Jones,  Travis
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Schmidt,  Franz
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion;
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Schlögl,  Robert
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion;
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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5.0045936.pdf
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Citation

Hartwig, C., Schweinar, K., Jones, T., Beeg, S., Schmidt, F., Schlögl, R., et al. (2021). Isolated Pd atoms in a silver matrix: Spectroscopic and chemical properties. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 154(18): 184703. doi:/10.1063/5.0045936.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-9301-0
Abstract
Over the past decade, single-atom alloys (SAAs) have been a lively topic of research due to their potential for achieving novel catalytic properties and circumventing some known limitations of heterogeneous catalysts, such as scaling relationships. In researching SAAs, it is important to recognize experimental evidence of peculiarities in their electronic structure. When an isolated atom is embedded in a matrix of foreign atoms, it exhibits spectroscopic signatures that reflect its surrounding chemical environment. In the present work, using photoemission spectroscopy and computational chemistry, we discuss the experimental evidence from Ag0.98Pd0.02 SAAs that show free-atom-like characteristics in their electronic structure. In particular, the broad Pd4d valence band states of the bulk Pd metal become a narrow band in the alloy. The measured photoemission spectra were compared with the calculated photoemission signal of a free Pd atom in the gas phase with very good agreement, suggesting that the Pd4d states in the alloy exhibit very weak hybridization with their surroundings and are therefore electronically isolated. Since AgPd alloys are known for their superior performance in the industrially relevant semi-hydrogenation of acetylene, we considered whether it is worthwhile to drive the dilution of Pd in the inert Ag host to the single-atom level. We conclude that although site-isolation provides beneficial electronic structure changes to the Pd centers due to the difficulty in activating H2 on Ag, utilizing such SAAs in acetylene semi-hydrogenation would require either a higher Pd concentration to bring isolated sites sufficiently close together or an H2-activating support.