Exploring the Potential of Different-Sized Supported Subnanometer Pt Clusters as Catalysts for Wet Chemical Applications

Manuel Rondelli, Gregor Zwaschka, Maximilian Krause, Marian D. Rötzer, Mohamed N. Hedhili, Manuel P. Högerl, Valerio D'Elia*, Florian F. Schweinberger, Jean Marie Basset, Ueli Heiz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The use of physicochemical preparation techniques of metal clusters in the ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) allows for high control of cluster nuclearity and size distribution for fundamental studies in catalysis. Surprisingly, the potential of these systems as catalysts for organic chemistry transformations in solution has not been explored. To this end, single Pt atoms and Pt clusters with two narrow size distributions were prepared in the UHV and applied for the hydrogenation of p-chloronitrobenzene to p-chloroaniline in ethanol. Following the observation of very high catalytic turnovers (approaching the million molecules of p-nitroaniline formed per Pt cluster) and of size-dependent activity, this work addresses fundamental questions with respect to the suitability of these systems as heterogeneous catalysts for the conversion of solution-phase reagents. For this purpose, we employ scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) characterization before and after reaction to assess the stability of the clusters on the support and the question of heterogeneity versus homogeneity in the catalytic process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4152-4162
Number of pages11
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • Pt atom catalysis
  • hydrogenation
  • single atom catalysis
  • size effects
  • subnanometer cluster catalysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Catalysis


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