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Tuning the Catalytic Activity and Selectivity of Pd Nanoparticles Using Ligand-Modified Supports and Surfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 20.09.2017 by Fernanda Parra da Silva, Jhonatan Luiz Fiorio, Liane Marcia Rossi
The organic moiety plays an essential role in the design of homogeneous catalysts, where the ligands are used to tune the catalytic activity, selectivity, and stability of the transition metal centers. The impact of ligands on the catalytic performance of metal nanoparticle catalysts is still less understood. Here, we prepared supported nanoparticle (NP) catalysts by the immobilization of preformed Pd NPs on the ligand-modified silica surfaces bearing amine, ethylenediamine, and diethylenetriamine groups. After excluding any size effect, we were able to study the influence of the ligands grafted on the support surface on the catalytic activity of the supported nanoparticles. Higher activity was observed for the Pd NPs supported on propylamine-functionalized support, whereas the presence of ethylenediamine and diethylenetriamine groups was detrimental to the activity. Upon the addition of excess of these amine ligands as surface modifiers, the hydrogenation of alkene to alkane was fully suppressed and, therefore, we were able to tune Pd selectivity. The selective hydrogenation of alkynes into alkenes, although a considerable challenge on the traditional palladium catalysts, was achieved here for a range of alkynes by combining Pd NPs and amine ligands.