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Supported quantum clusters of silver as enhanced catalysts for reduction

Annamalai Leelavathi, Thumu Udaya Bhaskara Rao and Thalappil Pradeep*

Author Affiliations

DST Unit of Nanoscience (DST UNS), Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036, India

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:123  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-123

Published: 8 February 2011


Quantum clusters (QCs) of silver such as Ag7(H2MSA)7, Ag8(H2MSA)8 (H2MSA, mercaptosuccinic acid) were synthesized by the interfacial etching of Ag nanoparticle precursors and were loaded on metal oxide supports to prepare active catalysts. The supported clusters were characterized using high resolution transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry. We used the conversion of nitro group to amino group as a model reaction to study the catalytic reduction activity of the QCs. Various aromatic nitro compounds, namely, 3-nitrophenol (3-np), 4-nitrophenol (4-np), 3-nitroaniline (3-na), and 4-nitroaniline (4-na) were used as substrates. Products were confirmed using UV-visible spectroscopy and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The supported QCs remained active and were reused several times after separation. The rate constant suggested that the reaction followed pseudo-first-order kinetics. The turn-over frequency was 1.87 s-1 per cluster for the reduction of 4-np at 35°C. Among the substrates investigated, the kinetics followed the order, SiO2 > TiO2 > Fe2O3 > Al2O3.