Deciphering Charge Transfer and Electronic Polarization Effects at Gold Nanocatalysts on Reduced Titania Support

Yoo, S.-H. and Siemer, N. and Todorova, M. and Marx, D. and Neugebauer, J.

Volume: 123 Pages: 5495-5506
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b12015
Published: 2019

Gold nanoparticles supported on reduced TiO2 (110) surfaces are widely used as catalysts for oxidation reactions. Despite extensive studies, the role of oxygen vacancies in such systems remains elusive and is controversially discussed. Combining ab initio molecular dynamics simulations with methods originally developed to describe defects in semiconductor physics we study how the electronic charge originally located at the vacancy modifies the charge on the cluster. Despite differences resulting from the employed level of density functional theory (namely semilocal/GGA, GGA + U, and hybrid functionals), we consistently find that the Au clusters remain either neutral or acquire a positive charge. The intuitively expected electron transfer from the oxygen vacancy to the gold cluster can be safely ruled out. Analyzing these findings, we discuss the role of the oxygen vacancy in the bonding between Au clusters and support and the catalytic activity of the system. © 2019 American Chemical Society.

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