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Journal Article

Segregation Phenomena in Size-selected Bimetallic CuNi Nanoparticle Catalysts


Roldan Cuenya,  Beatriz
Interface Science, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Pielsticker, L., Zegkinoglou, I., Divins, N. J., Mistry, H., Chen, Y.-T., Kostka, A., et al. (2018). Segregation Phenomena in Size-selected Bimetallic CuNi Nanoparticle Catalysts. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 122(2), 919-926. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b06984.

Cite as:
Surface segregation, restructuring and sintering phenomena in size-selected copper-nickel nanoparticles (NPs) supported on silicon dioxide substrates were systematically investigated as a function of temperature, chemical state and reactive gas environment. Using near-ambient pressure (NAP-XPS) and ultra-high vacuum X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), we showed that nickel tends to segregate to the surface of the NPs at elevated temperatures in oxygen- or hydrogencontaining atmospheres. It was found that the NP pre-treatment, gaseous environment and oxide formation free energy are the main driving forces of the restructuring and segregation trends observed, overshadowing the role of the surface free energy. The depth profile of the elemental composition of the particles was determined under operando CO2 hydrogenation conditions by varying the energy of the X-ray beam. The temperature dependence of the chemical state of the two metals was systematically studied, revealing the high stability of nickel oxides on the NPs and the important role of high valence oxidation states in the segregation behavior. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) studies revealed a remarkable stability of the NPs against sintering at temperatures as high as 700 °C. The results provide new insights into the complex interplay of the various factors which affect alloy formation and segregation phenomena in bimetallic NP systems, often in ways different from those previously known for their bulk counterparts. This leads to new routes for tuning the surface composition of nanocatalysts, for example through plasma and annealing pre-treatments.