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Ultrathin and Vacancy-Rich CoAl-Layered Double Hydroxide/Graphite Oxide Catalysts: Promotional Effect of Cobalt Vacancies and Oxygen Vacancies in Alcohol Oxidation

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journal contribution
posted on 07.03.2018, 00:00 by Qian Wang, Lifang Chen, Shaoliang Guan, Xin Zhang, Bin Wang, Xingzhong Cao, Zhi Yu, Yufei He, David G. Evans, Junting Feng, Dianqing Li
Co-containing layered double hydroxides (LDHs) are potential non-noble-metal catalysts for the aerobic oxidation of alcohols. However, the intrinsic activity of bulk LDHs is relatively low. In this work, we fabricated ultrathin and vacancy-rich nanosheets by exfoliating bulk CoAl-LDHs, which were then assembled with graphite oxide (GO) to afford a hybrid CoAl-ELDH/GO catalyst. TEM, AFM, and positron annihilation spectrometry indicate that the thickness of the exfoliated LDH platelets is about 3 nm, with a large number of vacancies in the host layers. Fourier transformed XAFS functions show that the Co–O and Co····Co coordination numbers (5.5 and 2.8, respectively) in the hybrid CoAl-ELDH/GO material are significantly lower than the corresponding values in bulk CoAl-LDHs (6.0 and 3.8, respectively). Furthermore, in addition to the oxygen vacancies (VO) and cobalt vacancies (VCo), CoAl-ELDH/GO also contains negatively charged VCo–Co–OHδ− sites and exposed lattice oxygen sites. CoAl-ELDH/GO shows excellent performance as a catalyst for the aerobic oxidation of benzyl alcohol, with a TOF of 1.14 h–1; this is nearly five times that of the unexfoliated bulk CoAl-LDHs (0.23 h–1) precursor. O2-TPD and DRIFT spectroscopy declare that the oxygen storage capacity and mobility are facilitated by the oxygen vacancies and surface lattice oxygen sites. Meanwhile, DFT calculations of adsorption energy show that benzyl alcohol is strongly adsorbed on the oxygen vacancies and negatively charged VCo–Co–OHδ− sites. A kinetic isotope effect study further illustrates that the vacancy-rich CoAl-ELDH/GO catalyst accelerates the cleavage of the O–H bond in benzyl alcohol. Finally, we show that the hybrid CoAl-ELDH/GO material exhibits excellent catalytic activity and selectivity in the oxidation of a range of other benzylic and unsaturated alcohols.