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


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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Fig. 1: Characterization of Nb2CT x MXene support.
Fig. 2: Kinetics of the WGS reaction over the 1% Pt/Nb2CT x MXene catalyst.
Fig. 3: Niobium 3d XPS measurements and niobium edge XAS of Pt/Nb2CT x catalysts.
Fig. 4: In situ XAS and quasi in situ XPS of the 1% Pt/Nb2CT x catalysts.
Fig. 5: Electron microscopy and spectroscopy of the spent 1% Pt/Nb2CT x catalyst.


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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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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.

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Correspondence to Yue Wu.

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

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Supplementary Information

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

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Li, Z., Cui, Y., Wu, Z. et al. Reactive metal–support interactions at moderate temperature in two-dimensional niobium-carbide-supported platinum catalysts. Nat Catal 1, 349–355 (2018).

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