The dynamics of overlayer formation on catalyst nanoparticles and strong metal-support interaction

Arik Beck, Xing Huang, Luca Artiglia, Maxim Zabilskiy, Xing Wang, Przemyslaw Rzepka, Dennis Palagin, Marc Georg Willinger, Jeroen A. van Bokhoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Heterogeneous catalysts play a pivotal role in the chemical industry. The strong metal-support interaction (SMSI), which affects the catalytic activity, is a phenomenon researched for decades. However, detailed mechanistic understanding on real catalytic systems is lacking. Here, this surface phenomenon was studied on an actual platinum-titania catalyst by state-of-the-art in situ electron microscopy, in situ X-ray photoemission spectroscopy and in situ X-ray diffraction, aided by density functional theory calculations, providing a novel real time view on how the phenomenon occurs. The migration of reduced titanium oxide, limited in thickness, and the formation of an alloy are competing mechanisms during high temperature reduction. Subsequent exposure to oxygen segregates the titanium from the alloy, and a thicker titania overlayer forms. This role of oxygen in the formation process and stabilization of the overlayer was not recognized before. It provides new application potential in catalysis and materials science.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3220
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'The dynamics of overlayer formation on catalyst nanoparticles and strong metal-support interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this