Solid-state NMR reveals the mechanism of double active site synergy

Recently, the team of Hou Guangjin, a researcher at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, used solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology to make new progress in the study of syngas conversion reaction mechanism catalyzed by spinel phase ZnAl2O4. The team revealed the synergistic mechanism of the double active site at the atomic level, and the results were published in Chemistry.

Schematic diagram of the synergistic mechanism of the double active site

Syngas catalytic conversion is an important way to efficiently utilize coal and other carbon resources. In recent years, the bifunctional composite catalyst composed of metal oxides and molecular sieve has developed into an important technical route for direct and efficient conversion of syngas. However, the catalytic efficiency of this reaction process still needs to be further improved, which will depend on a further understanding of the structure-activity relationship between catalyst and reaction, especially the activation and conversion of syngas on metal oxide components.

In this work, the researchers first observed the reaction process of syngas conversion catalyzed by spinel ZnAl2O4 by in situ solid-state NMR, revealing that the reaction followed the formate-methoxy-methanol reaction path in the low temperature range.

Subsequently, through a series of multi-nucleated, multi-dimensional correlated solid-state NMR techniques, the researchers determined the synergistic active center structure composed of tetracoordinated aluminum hydroxyl group and coordinated unsaturated zinc at the atomic level, and then elaborated the dynamic evolution process of reaction intermediates, surface-active sites and host-guest interactions during syngas conversion, and finally clarified the mechanism of syngas conversion catalyzed by dual active sites on the surface of ZnAl2O4. (Source: Sun Danning, China Science News)

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