- Number 297 |
- October 12, 2009
Common industrial catalyst sports rafts of platinum
Rafts of catalytic platinum oxide
float above a sea of aluminum
oxide, anchored by bonds
between platinum and aluminum.
Scientists in the Institute for Interfacial Catalysis at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory analyzed the common industrial catalyst aluminum oxide-supported platinum. The study, which appears in Science and used the 900-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer at DOE’s EMSL, shows that aluminum atoms in the catalyst’s supporting material bond with and anchor platinum. The anchors allow platinum atoms to group into rafts that float above the supporting surface, providing ample space for chemical reactions. This clear molecular-level view of the processes that create platinum rafts will help engineers control the preparation of this important class of catalyst materials, improving catalytic processes for petroleum refining, vehicle emission control, and many other important applications.
[Kristin Manke, 509.372.6011,