Tuning the Selectivity of Acetylene Polymerization Atom by Atom

Stéphane Abbet, Antonio Sanchez, Ueli Heiz, Wolf Dieter Schneider

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86 Scopus citations


The polymerization of acetylene was studied by thermal programmed reaction on nanoassembled model catalysts fabricated by soft landing of size-selected palladium Pdn (1≤n≤30) clusters on well-characterized MgO(100) thin films. In a single-pass heating cycle experiment, benzene, butadiene, and butene were catalyzed with different selectivities as a function of cluster size: palladium atoms selectively produce benzene, and the highest selectivity for butadiene is observed for Pd6, whereas Pd20 reveals the highest selectivity for butene. These results provide an atom-by-atom observation of the selectivity of small palladium model catalysts, and extend toward small cluster sizes the study of Ormerod and Lambert on real palladium catalysts, where a structure sensitivity for the cyclotrimerization was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylene polymerization
  • Magnesium oxide films
  • Model catalysts
  • Palladium clusters
  • Selectivity
  • Size effects
  • Size-selected clusters


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