Gold nanoparticles are known to be catalytically active for CO oxidation. These nanoparticles tend to be more catalytically active when supported on certain metal oxides. One of the most common supports for gold nanoparticles is titania. TiO2 is known as an active support, due to its reducibility, which could allow the lattice oxygen to participate in reactions. The role of titania in the catalytic CO oxidation reaction is not yet fully understood. Here we report the interactions of CO with nanoparticle (NP) TiO2 catalyst support that have been investigated using interfacial matrix stabilization spectroscopy (IMSS) and compare them with results obtained using World Gold Council (WGC) reference catalyst. IMSS is an adaptation of traditional matrix isolation spectroscopy to study the interactions at the interface between the cryogenic matrix and the substrate surface. We are developing this technique to probe interactions of molecules with real supported nanoparticle catalyst materials. We have taken care in our experiments to work at low temperatures and pressures in order to be able to study interactions of isolated molecules with the catalyst material.
Rebecca Klimas is a fourth-year chemistry graduate student. She primarily does matrix isolation spectroscopy on supported gold nanoparticles and the supports alone, such as TiO2. This will help to give us fundamental mechanistic information on how gold acts as a catalyst for CO oxidation. Klimas has also become familiar with the synthetic methods for producing supported gold catalysts. She does my research under the supervision of Dr. David Moore. She graduated from Moravian College in 2006 with a B.S. in Chemistry and received a M.S. in Chemistry from Lehigh in 2010.