Catalytic activation of a solid oxide in electronic contact with gold nanoparticles

Mayank Behl, Prashant K. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although inert in its bulk form, nanostructured gold supported on oxides has been found to be catalytically active. In many cases, the oxide promotes the activity of Au. It is now shown that in turn, nanoscale Au particles can chemically activate the solid oxide. Specifically, it was discovered that 4 nm Au nanoparticles deposited on zinc oxide catalyze the transformation of the oxide into the sulfide in the presence of an organosulfur species. Contact of the oxide with Au nanoparticles lowers the activation barrier for the solid-state reaction by approximately 20 kJ mol-1, allowing the reaction to be achieved closer to ambient temperatures. Electron transfer from oxygen vacancies to Au nanoparticles is proposed to generate acidic sites on the surface of the zinc oxide, resulting in the enhanced reactivity of the oxide. Knowledge of such electronic interactions between the noble metal and oxide can be exploited for engineering reactive heterostructures for low-temperature pollutant sorption and hydrocarbon processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-997
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 12 2015


  • Gold
  • Heterostructures
  • Nanoparticles
  • Surface chemistry
  • Synergistic effects
  • Zinc oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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