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Synthesis and Activation of Gold and Bimetallic Clusters for Catalysis



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This thesis investigates the synthesis and activation of highly monodisperse Au25(SR)18 - clusters and bimetallic clusters (AuAg and AuPd) protected with various stabilizers for reduction and hydrogenation catalytic reactions. The first chapter is the introduction chapter, which summarizes the literature involving monolayer protected Au clusters, atomically precise Au clusters, bimetallic clusters, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, research objectives, and organization and scope. The second chapter describes the synthesis of Au25(SR)18 - clusters protected with various thiolate stabilizers for nitrophenol reduction catalysis using NaBH4 as a reducing agent. This chapter also describes the stability of these clusters under reaction conditions using UV-Vis spectroscopy and MALDI mass spectrometry. The third chapter details the synthesis of carboxylic acid-protected Au25 clusters using a NaBH4 purification strategy. Here, the knowledge obtained in the second chapter regarding the exceptional stability of Au25(SR)18 - clusters in the presence of NaBH4 was used to isolate carboxylic acid protected Au25 clusters from a polydisperse reaction mixture. The fourth chapter describes the synthesis and activation of mesoporous carbon supported Au25(SR)18 - clusters for nitrophenol reduction catalysis. Here, thermal removal of thiolate stabilizers led to the enhancement in the catalytic activity at low calcination temperatures; however, at higher calcination temperatures activity dropped as particle sintering was observed. Activation of these clusters on mesoporous carbon support was followed by TEM and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. The fifth chapter describes the thermal and chemical removal of thiolate stabilizers from supported Au25(SC8H9)18 - clusters. Here, the removal of thiolate stabilizers and subsequent growth of Au25 clusters was followed by TEM and EXAFS spectroscopy. The sixth and seventh chapters describe the synthesis of AuPd and AuAg bimetallic clusters using Au25(SR)18 - clusters as precursors and their characterization using UV-Vis spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Here, AuPd bimetallic clusters were thermally and chemically treated, which resulted in the formation of AuPd bimetallic nanoparticles with segregated Pd atoms on the surface. AuPd bimetallic nanoparticles were used for the selective hydrogenation catalysis of allyl alcohol. The last chapter of this thesis includes final conclusions and possible avenues for future work.



Au25cluster, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, activation, bimetallic clusters



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)






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