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1.  Electrocatalysis on the nm scale 
PMCID: PMC4419656  PMID: 25977871
2.  Adsorption and oxidation of formaldehyde on a polycrystalline Pt film electrode: An in situ IR spectroscopy search for adsorbed reaction intermediates 
As part of a mechanistic study of the electrooxidation of C1 molecules we have systematically investigated the dissociative adsorption/oxidation of formaldehyde on a polycrystalline Pt film electrode under experimental conditions optimizing the chance for detecting weakly adsorbed reaction intermediates. Employing in situ IR spectroscopy in an attenuated total reflection configuration (ATR-FTIRS) with p-polarized IR radiation to further improve the signal-to-noise ratio, and using low reaction temperatures (3 °C) and deuterium substitution to slow down the reaction kinetics and to stabilize weakly adsorbed reaction intermediates, we could detect an IR absorption band at 1660 cm−1 characteristic for adsorbed formyl intermediates. This assignment is supported by an isotope shift in wave number. Effects of temperature, potential and deuterium substitution on the formation and disappearance of different adsorbed species (COad, adsorbed formate, adsorbed formyl), are monitored and quantified. Consequences on the mechanism for dissociative adsorption and oxidation of formaldehyde are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4077456  PMID: 24991512
electrocatalysis; formaldehyde adsorption; formyl intermediate; in situ spectro-electrochemistry; Pt
3.  Shape-selected nanocrystals for in situ spectro-electrochemistry studies on structurally well defined surfaces under controlled electrolyte transport: A combined in situ ATR-FTIR/online DEMS investigation of CO electrooxidation on Pt 
The suitability and potential of shape selected nanocrystals for in situ spectro-electrochemical and in particular spectro-electrocatalytic studies on structurally well defined electrodes under enforced and controlled electrolyte mass transport will be demonstrated, using Pt nanocrystals prepared by colloidal synthesis procedures and a flow cell set-up allowing simultaneous measurements of the Faradaic current, FTIR spectroscopy of adsorbed reaction intermediates and side products in an attenuated total reflection configuration (ATR-FTIRS) and differential electrochemical mass spectrometry (DEMS) measurements of volatile reaction products. Batches of shape-selected Pt nanocrystals with different shapes and hence different surface structures were prepared and structurally characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electrochemical methods. The potential for in situ spectro-electrocatalytic studies is illustrated for COad oxidation on Pt nanocrystal surfaces, where we could separate contributions from two processes occurring simultaneously, oxidative COad removal and re-adsorption of (bi)sulfate anions, and reveal a distinct structure sensitivity in these processes and also in the structural implications of (bi)sulfate re-adsorption on the CO adlayer.
PMCID: PMC4077536  PMID: 24991511
CO oxidation; electrocatalysis; in situ spectro-electrochemistry; Pt; shape selected nanocrystals
4.  Adsorption of the ionic liquid [BMP][TFSA] on Au(111) and Ag(111): substrate effects on the structure formation investigated by STM 
In order to resolve substrate effects on the adlayer structure and structure formation and on the substrate–adsorbate and adsorbate–adsorbate interactions, we investigated the adsorption of thin films of the ionic liquid (IL) 1-butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium-bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [BMP][TFSA] on the close-packed Ag(111) and Au(111) surfaces by scanning tunneling microscopy, under ultra high vacuum (UHV) conditions in the temperature range between about 100 K and 293 K. At room temperature, highly mobile 2D liquid adsorbate phases were observed on both surfaces. At low temperatures, around 100 K, different adsorbed IL phases were found to coexist on these surfaces, both on silver and gold: a long-range ordered (‘2D crystalline’) phase and a short-range ordered (‘2D glass’) phase. Both phases exhibit different characteristics on the two surfaces. On Au(111), the surface reconstruction plays a major role in the structure formation of the 2D crystalline phase. In combination with recent density functional theory calculations, the sub-molecularly resolved STM images allow to clearly discriminate between the [BMP]+ cation and [TFSA]− anion.
PMCID: PMC3869266  PMID: 24367760
adsorption; Ag; Au; [BMP][TFSA]; ionic liquids; scanning tunnelling microscopy; self-assembly
5.  Catalytic activity of nanostructured Au: Scale effects versus bimetallic/bifunctional effects in low-temperature CO oxidation on nanoporous Au 
The catalytic properties of nanostructured Au and their physical origin were investigated by using the low-temperature CO oxidation as a test reaction. In order to distinguish between structural effects (structure–activity correlations) and bimetallic/bifunctional effects, unsupported nanoporous gold (NPG) samples prepared from different Au alloys (AuAg, AuCu) by selective leaching of a less noble metal (Ag, Cu) were employed, whose structure (surface area, ligament size) as well as their residual amount of the second metal were systematically varied by applying different potentials for dealloying. The structural and chemical properties before and after 1000 min reaction were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The catalytic behavior was evaluated by kinetic measurements in a conventional microreactor and by dynamic measurements in a temporal analysis of products (TAP) reactor. The data reveal a clear influence of the surface contents of residual Ag and Cu species on both O2 activation and catalytic activity, while correlations between activity and structural parameters such as surface area or ligament/crystallite size are less evident. Consequences for the mechanistic understanding and the role of the nanostructure in these NPG catalysts are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3596058  PMID: 23503603
AuAg alloy; AuCu alloy; CO oxidation; dynamic studies; kinetics; nanoporous Au (NPG) catalyst; oxygen storage capacity (OSC); temporal analysis of products (TAP)
6.  Nanostructured, mesoporous Au/TiO2 model catalysts – structure, stability and catalytic properties 
Aiming at model systems with close-to-realistic transport properties, we have prepared and studied planar Au/TiO2 thin-film model catalysts consisting of a thin mesoporous TiO2 film of 200–400 nm thickness with Au nanoparticles, with a mean particle size of ~2 nm diameter, homogeneously distributed therein. The systems were prepared by spin-coating of a mesoporous TiO2 film from solutions of ethanolic titanium tetraisopropoxide and Pluronic P123 on planar Si(100) substrates, calcination at 350 °C and subsequent Au loading by a deposition–precipitation procedure, followed by a final calcination step for catalyst activation. The structural and chemical properties of these model systems were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), N2 adsorption, inductively coupled plasma ionization spectroscopy (ICP–OES) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The catalytic properties were evaluated through the oxidation of CO as a test reaction, and reactivities were measured directly above the film with a scanning mass spectrometer. We can demonstrate that the thin-film model catalysts closely resemble dispersed Au/TiO2 supported catalysts in their characteristic structural and catalytic properties, and hence can be considered as suitable for catalytic model studies. The linear increase of the catalytic activity with film thickness indicates that transport limitations inside the Au/TiO2 film catalyst are negligible, i.e., below the detection limit.
PMCID: PMC3190629  PMID: 22003465
Au catalysis; Au/TiO2; CO oxidation; gold nanoparticles; model catalysts; thin-film catalyst
7.  Intermolecular vs molecule–substrate interactions: A combined STM and theoretical study of supramolecular phases on graphene/Ru(0001) 
The competition between intermolecular interactions and long-range lateral variations in the substrate–adsorbate interaction was studied by scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and force field based calculations, by comparing the phase formation of (sub-) monolayers of the organic molecules (i) 2-phenyl-4,6-bis(6-(pyridin-3-yl)-4-(pyridin-3-yl)pyridin-2-yl)pyrimidine (3,3'-BTP) and (ii) 3,4,9,10-perylene tetracarboxylic-dianhydride (PTCDA) on graphene/Ru(0001). For PTCDA adsorption, a 2D adlayer phase was formed, which extended over large areas, while for 3,3'-BTP adsorption linear or ring like structures were formed, which exclusively populated the areas between the maxima of the moiré structure of the buckled graphene layer. The consequences for the competing intermolecular interactions and corrugation in the adsorption potential are discussed and compared with the theoretical results.
PMCID: PMC3190608  PMID: 22003444
graphene film; intermolecular interaction; large organic molecules; substrate–adsorbate interaction; supramolecular structure

Results 1-7 (7)