Synergistic ultraviolet and visible light photo-activation enables intensified low-temperature methanol synthesis over copper/zinc oxide/alumina

Xie, B. et al. (2020) Synergistic ultraviolet and visible light photo-activation enables intensified low-temperature methanol synthesis over copper/zinc oxide/alumina. Nature Communications, 11, 1615. (doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15445-z) (PMID:32235859) (PMCID:PMC7109065)

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Although photoexcitation has been employed to unlock the low-temperature equilibrium regimes of thermal catalysis, mechanism underlining potential interplay between electron excitations and surface chemical processes remains elusive. Here, we report an associative zinc oxide band-gap excitation and copper plasmonic excitation that can cooperatively promote methanol-production at the copper-zinc oxide interfacial perimeter of copper/zinc oxide/alumina (CZA) catalyst. Conversely, selective excitation of individual components only leads to the promotion of carbon monoxide production. Accompanied by the variation in surface copper oxidation state and local electronic structure of zinc, electrons originating from the zinc oxide excitation and copper plasmonic excitation serve to activate surface adsorbates, catalysing key elementary processes (namely formate conversion and hydrogen molecule activation), thus providing one explanation for the observed photothermal activity. These observations give valuable insights into the key elementary processes occurring on the surface of the CZA catalyst under light-heat dual activation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The work was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) under the Laureate Fellowship Scheme-FL140100081. The authors would also like to acknowledge the use of facilities within the UNSW Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre and the UoW Electron Microscopy Centre. UK Catalysis Hub is kindly thanked for resources and support provided via our membership of the UK Catalysis Hub Consortium and funded by EPSRC grant: EP/R026939/1, EP/R026815/1, EP/R026645/1, EP/R027129/1 or EP/M013219/1(biocatalysis)).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gibson, Dr Emma
Authors: Xie, B., Wong, R. J., Tan, T. H., Higham, M., Gibson, E. K., Decarolis, D., Callison, J., Aguey-Zinsou, K.-F., Bowker, M., Catlow, C. R. A., Scott, J., and Amal, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 11:1615
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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