Understanding the Interface of Six-Shell Cuboctahedral and Icosahedral Palladium Clusters on Reduced Graphene Oxide: Experimental and Theoretical Study
This is our most recent work published in the Journal of American Chemical Society. Here we studied the nanoscale interactions of reduced graphene oxide (rGOx) homogeneously decorated with small palladium nanoclusters (2.3 ± 0.3 nm). The Pd nanoparticles anchored to the rGOx-surface exhibit high crystallinity and are consistent with six-shell cuboctahedral and icosahedral clusters containing ∼600 Pd atoms. We also performed ab initio simulations to understand the electronic properties of the graphene−nanoparticle hybrid system.
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Eduardo Gracia-Espino, Guangzhi Hu, Andrey Shchukarev, and Thomas Wågberg.
Studies on noble-metal-decorated carbon nanostructures are reported almost on a daily basis, but detailed studies on the nanoscale interactions for well-defined systems are very rare. Here we report a study of reduced graphene oxide (rGOx) homogeneously decorated with palladium (Pd) nanoclusters with well-defined shape and size (2.3 ± 0.3 nm). The rGOx was modified with benzyl mercaptan (BnSH) to improve the interaction with Pd clusters, and N,N-dimethylformamide was used as solvent and capping agent during the decoration process. The resulting Pd nanoparticles anchored to the rGOx-surface exhibit high crystallinity and are fully consistent with six-shell cuboctahedral and icosahedral clusters containing ∼600 Pd atoms, where 45% of these are located at the surface. According to X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis, the Pd clusters exhibit an oxidized surface forming a PdOx shell. Given the well-defined experimental system, as verified by electron microscopy data and theoretical simulations, we performed ab initio simulations using 10 functionalized graphenes (with vacancies or pyridine, amine, hydroxyl, carboxyl, or epoxy groups) to understand the adsorption process of BnSH, their further role in the Pd cluster formation, and the electronic properties of the graphene−nanoparticle hybrid system. Both the experimental and theoretical results suggest that Pd clusters interact with functionalized graphene by a sulfur bridge while the remaining Pd surface is oxidized. Our study is of significant importance for all work related to anchoring of nanoparticles on nanocarbon-based supports, which are used in a variety of applications.
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