We present results from combined in situ infrared spectroscopy and total X-ray scattering studies on the evolution of catalytically active sites in exemplary binary and ternary Pt-based nanoalloys during a sequence of CO oxidation-reactivation-CO oxidation reactions. We find that when within a particular compositional range, the fresh nanoalloys may exhibit high catalytic activity for low-temperature CO oxidation. Using surface-specific atomic pair distribution functions (PDFs) extracted from the in situ total X-ray scattering data, we find that, regardless of their chemical composition and initial catalytic activity, the fresh nanoalloys suffer a significant surface structural disorder during CO oxidation. Upon reactivation in oxygen atmosphere, the surface of used nanoalloy catalysts both partially oxidizes and orders. Remarkably, it largely retains its structural state when the nanoalloys are reused as CO oxidation catalysts. The seemingly inverse structural changes of studied nanoalloy catalysts occurring under CO oxidation and reactivation conditions affect the active sites on their surface significantly. In particular, through different mechanisms, both appear to reduce the CO binding strength to the nanoalloy's surface and thus increase the catalytic stability of the nanoalloys. The findings provide clues for further optimization of nanoalloy catalysts for the oxidation of carbonaceous species through optimizing their composition, activation, and reactivation. Besides, the findings demonstrate the usefulness of combined in situ infrared spectroscopy and total X-ray scattering coupled to surface-specific atomic PDF analysis to the ongoing effort to produce advanced catalysts for environmentally and technologically important applications.
- CO oxidation
- in situ infrared spectroscopy and total X-ray scattering
- metallic nanoalloy catalysts
- surface atomic structure
- thermochemical treatment