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The Nature of the Molybdenum Surface in Iron Molybdate; the Active Phase in Selective Methanol Oxidation

DOI: 10.1021/jp5081753 DOI Help

Authors: Catherine Brookes (University of Cardiff) , Peter Wells (Research Complex at Harwell) , Nikolaos Dimitratos (University College London) , Wilm Jones (University College London) , Emma Gibson (University College London) , David John Morgan (Cardiff University) , Giannantonio Cibin (Diamond Light Source) , Chris Nicklin (Diamond Light Source) , David Mora-fonz (University College London) , David O. Scanlon (University College London; Diamond Light Source) , C. Richard A. Catlow (Complex at Harwell) , Michael Bowker (University of Cardiff)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: The Journal Of Physical Chemistry C , VOL 118 (45)

State: Published (Approved)
Published: October 2014
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 8071

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The surface structure of iron molybdate is of great significance since this is the industrial catalyst for the direct selective oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde. There is a debate concerning whether Fe2(MoO4)3 acts as a benign support for segregated MoO3 or if there is an intrinsic property of the surface structure which facilitates its high catalytic efficacy. This study provides new insights into the structure of this catalyst, identifying a bound terminating layer of octahedral Mo units as the active and selective phase. Here we examine whether only 1 monolayer of Mo on iron oxide alone is efficacious for this reaction. For a 1 ML MoOx shell–Fe2O3 core catalyst the Mo remains at the surface under all calcination procedures while exhibiting high selectivity and activity. The work highlights how catalyst surfaces are significantly different from bulk structures and this difference is crucial for catalyst performance.

Journal Keywords: Surface Analysis; EXAFS; Heterogeneous Catalysis; Mo; Oxidation

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Materials


Instruments: B18-Core EXAFS