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Stabilizing Gold Adatoms by Thiophenyl Derivatives: A Possible Route toward Metal Redispersion

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posted on 2012-07-11, 00:00 authored by Bing Yang, Yi Pan, Xiao Lin, Niklas Nilius, Hans-Joachim Freund, Catherine Hulot, Anne Giraud, Siegfried Blechert, Sergio Tosoni, Joachim Sauer
Tris­(phenylthio)­benzene molecules have been synthesized in order to explore their ability to trap single Au adatoms on an Au(111) surface. The resulting metal–organic complexes have been characterized with low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy; possible structure models have been derived from density functional calculations. Upon room temperature deposition, the thiophenyl derivatives form dimer structures, comprising two molecules and six Au adatoms. Below 100 K, isolated molecules are found as well that have trapped up to six Au atoms. On the basis of the experimental results and calculated formation energies of the complexes, we discuss potential applications of the thioethers for the redispersion of metals on a catalyst surface. First experiments performed on Au particle ensembles prepared on alumina thin films suggest that the molecular ligands are indeed able to change the distribution of gold on the oxide surface.

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