The reactivity of gold and platinum metals in their cluster phase

U. Heiz, A. Sanchez, S. Abbet, W. D. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Platinum surfaces are known to be among the most active ones for the oxidation of carbon monoxide, whereas gold surfaces are completely inert for this reaction. The question remains: Do small clusters of these two metals maintain these distinct differences? To answer this question, we have employed temperature-programmed reaction (TPR) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to investigate the reactivity of small platinum and gold clusters consisting of up to 20 atoms. These clusters are generated in the gas phase by a laser evaporation source and, after mass selection, are deposited with low kinetic energy onto thin MgO films. The oxidation of CO is studied for the octamer and the icosarner under UHV conditions. Surprisingly, all investigated cluster sizes are catalytically active. Pt20 shows the highest reactivity and oxidizes almost 6 CO molecules, whereas Pt8, Au20, and Au8 oxidize just one CO molecule under identical experimental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Physical Journal D
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


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