The emergence of nonbulk properties in supported metal clusters: Negative thermal expansion and atomic disorder in Pt nanoclusters supported on γ-Al 2O 3

Sergio I. Sanchez, Laurent D. Menard, Ariella Bram, Joo H. Kang, Matthew W. Small, Ralph G. Nuzzo, Anatoly I. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The structural dynamics-cluster size and adsorbate-dependent thermal behaviors of the metal-metal (M-M) bond distances and Interatomic order-of Pt nanoclusters supported on a γ-Al 2O 3 are described. Data from scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) studies reveal that these materials possess a dramatically nonbulkllke nature. Under an Inert atmosphere small, subnanometer Pt/y-Al 2O 3 clusters exhibit marked relaxations of the M-M bond distances, negative thermal expansion (NTE) with an average linear thermal expansion coefficient a = (-2.4 ± 0.4) × 10 -5 K -1, large static disorder and dynamical bond (Interatomic) disorder that Is poorly modeled within the constraints of classical theory. The data further demonstrate a significant temperature-dependence to the electronic structure of the Pt clusters, thereby suggesting the necessity of an active model to describe the cluster/support Interactions mediating the cluster's dynamical structure. The quantitative dependences of these nonbulkllke behaviors on cluster size (0.9 to 2.9 nm), ambient atmosphere (He, 4% H 2 In He or 20% O 2 In He) and support Identity (γ-Al 2O 3 or carbon black) are systematically Investigated. We show that the nonbulk structural, electronic and dynamical perturbations are most dramatically evidenced for the smallest clusters. The adsorption of hydrogen on the clusters leads to an Increase of the Pt-Pt bondlengths (due to a lifting of the surface relaxation) and significant attenuation of the disorder present In the system. Oxidation of these same clusters has the opposite effect, leading to an Increase In Pt-Pt bond strain and subsequent enhancement In nonbulkllke thermal properties. The structural and electronic properties of Pt nanoclusters supported on carbon black contrast markedly with those of the Pt/γ-Al 2O 3 samples In that neither NTE nor comparable levels of atomic disorder are observed. The Pt/C nanoclusters do exhibit, however, both size- and adsorbate-Induced trends In bond strain that are similar to those of their PVy-Al 2O 3 analogues. Taken together, the data highlight the significant role that electronic effects - specifically charge exchange due to both metal-support and metal-adsorbate Interactions - play in mediating the structural dynamics of supported nanoscale metal clusters that are broadly used as heterogeneous catalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7040-7054
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 27 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The emergence of nonbulk properties in supported metal clusters: Negative thermal expansion and atomic disorder in Pt nanoclusters supported on γ-Al 2O 3'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this