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Reactive metal–support interactions at moderate temperature in two-dimensional niobium-carbide-supported platinum catalysts

Nature Catalysisvolume 1pages349355 (2018) | Download Citation


The reactive metal–support interaction (RMSI) offers electronic, geometric and compositional effects that can be used to tune catalytic active sites. Generally, supports other than oxides are disregarded as candidates for RMSI. Here, we report an example of non-oxide-based RMSI between platinum and Nb2CT x MXene—a recently developed, two-dimensional metal carbide. The surface functional groups of the two-dimensional carbide can be reduced, and a Pt–Nb surface alloy is formed at a moderate temperature (350 °C). Such an alloy exhibits weaker CO adsorption than monometallic platinum. Water-gas shift reaction kinetics reveals that the RMSI stabilizes the nanoparticles and creates alloy–MXene interfaces with higher H2O activation ability compared with a non-reducible support or a bulk niobium carbide. This RMSI between platinum and the niobium MXene support can be extended to other members of the MXene family and opens new avenues for the facile design and manipulation of functional bimetallic catalysts.

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Y.W. appreciates support from the Herbert L. Stiles Professorship and the ACRI Center Initiative at Iowa State University. F.H.R. acknowledges the partial support provided by the National Science Foundation. This paper is based on work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under cooperative agreement EEC-1647722. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Zhe Li, Yanran Cui, Zhenwei Wu.


  1. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA

    • Zhe Li
    • , Biao Xu
    • , Enzheng Shi
    •  & Yue Wu
  2. Charles D. Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

    • Yanran Cui
    • , Zhenwei Wu
    • , Cory Milligan
    • , Garrett Mitchell
    • , Jeffrey T. Miller
    •  & Fabio H. Ribeiro
  3. Department of Energy, Ames Laboratory, Ames, IA, USA

    • Lin Zhou


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Z.L. conceived the research and performed the synthesis and material characterizations. Y.C. and F.H.R. carried out the CO chemisorption and WGS kinetics measurements. Z.W. and J.T.M. carried out the XAS measurements. L.Z., G.M., B.X. and E.S. conducted microscopy analyses. C.M. performed the XPS experiments. Y.W. supervised and led the project.

Competing interests

The authors have filed a patent application (US Patent application no. 62/579,364).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yue Wu.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Methods; Supplementary Figures 1–13; Supplementary Table 1; Supplementary References

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