Origin of Laser-Induced Colloidal Gold Surface Oxidation and Charge Density, and Its Role in Oxidation Catalysis

Ziefuß, A.R. and Haxhiaj, I. and Müller, S. and Gharib, M. and Gridina, O. and Rehbock, C. and Chakraborty, I. and Peng, B. and Muhler, M. and Parak, W.J. and Barcikowski, S. and Reichenberger, S.

Volume: 124 Pages: 20981-20990
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c06257
Published: 2020

Laser fragmentation in liquids (LFL) allows the synthesis of fully inorganic, ultrasmall gold nanoparticles, usAu NPs (<3 nm). Although the general method is well established, there is a lack of understanding the chemical processes that are triggered by the laser pulses, which may dictate the surface properties that are highly important in heterogeneous oxidation catalytic reactions. We observed the formation of radical oxygen species during LFL, which suggested that LFL is a physicochemical process that leads to particle size reductions and initiates oxidative processes. When the ionic strength in the nanoenvironment was increased, the oxidation of the first atomic layer saturated at 50%, whereby the surface charge density increases continuously. We found a correlation between the surface charge density after synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles and its behavior in catalysis. The properties of the laser-generated nanoparticles in the colloidal state appear to have predetermined the catalytic performance. We found that a smaller surface charge density of the usAu NPs was beneficial for the catalytic activity in CO and ethanol oxidation, while their peroxidase-like activity was affected less. The catalytic activity was 2 times higher for samples prepared by chloride-free LFL after ozone pretreatment compared to samples prepared in pure water. Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

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