Quantitative and Atomic Scale View of CO-Induced Pt Nanoparticle Surface Reconstruction at Saturation Coverage via DFT Calculations Coupled with in-situ TEM and IR

Talin Avanesian, Sheng Dai, Matthew J. Kale, George W. Graham, Xiaoqing Pan, and Phillip Christopher, 2017
PT nanoparticle surface reconstruction observed via in situ TEM
Image courtesy of Journal of American Chemical Society


Atomic-scale insights into how supported metal nanoparticles catalyze chemical reactions are critical for the optimization of chemical conversion processes. It is well-known that different geometric configurations of surface atoms on supported metal nanoparticles have different catalytic reactivity and that the adsorption of reactive species can cause reconstruction of metal surfaces. Thus, characterizing metallic surface structures under reaction conditions at atomic scale is critical for understanding reactivity. Elucidation of such insights on high surface area oxide supported metal nanoparticles has been limited by less than atomic resolution typically achieved by environmental transmission electron microscopy (TEM) when operated under realistic conditions and a lack of correlated experimental measurements providing quantitative information about the distribution of exposed surface atoms under relevant reaction conditions. We overcome these limitations by correlating density functional theory predictions of adsorbate-induced surface reconstruction visually with atom-resolved imaging by in situ TEM and quantitatively with sample-averaged measurements of surface atom configurations by in situ infrared spectroscopy all at identical saturation adsorbate coverage. This is demonstrated for platinum (Pt) nanoparticle surface reconstruction induced by CO adsorption at saturation coverage and elevated (>400 K) temperature, which is relevant for the CO oxidation reaction under cold-start conditions in the catalytic convertor. Through our correlated approach, it is observed that the truncated octahedron shape adopted by bare Pt nanoparticles undergoes a reversible, facet selective reconstruction due to saturation CO coverage, where {100} facets roughen into vicinal stepped high Miller index facets, while {111} facets remain intact.

Impact Statement

This approach is expected to be useful for identifying the exposed surface structure on various supported metal catalysts under reactions conditions, and have impacts on active site elucidation for structurally dynamic catalytic systems.