Effects of metal oxide surface doping with phosphonic acid monolayers on alcohol dehydration activity and selectivity Public Deposited

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  • Controlling the near-surface environment of heterogeneous catalysts is of fundamental importance for high selectivity and activity. Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are effective tools to control reaction selectivity and activity for both supported noble metal and metal oxide catalysts. We previously demonstrated tunable dehydration activity of alcohols on phosphonic acid-modified, anatase-phase TiO2. In this work, we investigated the generality of this approach by studying the modification of other metal oxides including Al2O3, CeO2, CuO, Fe2O3, MgO, rutile-TiO2, SnO2, V2O5, WO3, ZrO2, and ZnO. Modification of these materials with phosphonic acids results in the formation of SAMs on the surface, as determined by infrared spectroscopy; studies of the thermal stability on selected catalysts indicated that the SAMs remained intact up to approximately 400 °C in inert environments. Decomposition of alcohols on these native materials resulted in dehydration, dehydrogenation, and condensation. Upon functionalization with phosphonic acid modifiers, the activity of all pathways decreased significantly, except for dehydration on CeO2, anatase-TiO2, and SnO2. We explored the properties of these oxides that may be responsible for this increase in dehydration activity using correlations to bulk properties. This analysis supported the hypothesis that phosphonic acid monolayers act as surface-level dopants for metal oxides of specific metal-oxygen bond strength and oxidation state.

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Journal Title
Journal Issue/Number
  • C
Journal Volume
  • 571
Last Modified
  • 2021-07-02
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  • 1873-3875