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Mechanistic studies of atomic layer deposition on oxidation catalysts – AlOx and POx deposition

Knemeyer, Kristian; Hermida, Mar Piernavieja; Ingale, Piyush; Schmidt, Johannes; Kröhnert, Jutta; Naumann d’Alnoncourt, Raoul; Driess, Matthias; Rosowski, Frank

Atomic layer deposition is a rising technique for catalyst synthesis and modification. Typically, the focus of ALD in catalysis is on supported metal nanoparticles. Here, the authors give mechanistic insights into the ALD of oxides on redox active catalysts by a combination of in situ analytics, such as XPS, DRIFTS and gravimetric measurements. Phosphorus oxide and aluminum oxide were deposited on divanadium pentoxide powder in a fixed bed reactor. In contrast to the generally accepted concepts, the first half cycle does not proceed over surface hydroxyl groups but involves redox chemistry between the precursor and the vanadium atoms, as shown by 31P-SSNMR and XPS. For POx deposition, a temperature step from 150 °C in the first half cycle to 450 °C in the second half cycle is needed to obtain linear mass gain per cycle as the remaining ligands are combusted and reduced vanadium atoms are reoxidized. Homogeneous deposition was confirmed by STEM-EDX and XRD showing no additional phases, despite performing up to 10 ALD cycles. Even the well-known process of alumina ALD confirms the involvement of reduction–oxidation reactions between the ALD precursor and the substrate V2O5. However, redox chemistry can be suppressed for alumina ALD at low temperatures of 50 °C. Therefore, this study shows that ALD on oxidation catalysts is complex and thus the developed ALD processes are unusual compared to ALD on typical supports, such as SiO2 or Al2O3.
Published in: Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics, 10.1039/D0CP02572K, Royal Society of Chemistry