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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 5, pp. 1039-1055

Physical techniques and catalyst preparation: Determining the interactions of transition-metal complexes with oxide surfaces

Xavier Carrier1, Eric Marceau1 and Michel Che1,2

1 Laboratoire de Réactivité de Surface (UMR 7609-CNRS), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cédex 05, France
2 Institut Universitaire de France

This contribution presents the molecular approach used to investigate the different preparation steps of important catalytic systems, based on Mo, Ni, and Co. The first preparation step consists of impregnating oxide supports by aqueous solutions of transition-metal complexes (TMCs), called precursor complexes, and involves the liquid-solid (wet) interface. The following steps consist of thermal activation treatments, involving the gas-solid (dry) interface. The molecular approach is based on (i) the use of the TMC to monitor and probe the nature of its own interactions with the oxide support, (ii) the selection of the most appropriate techniques to monitor such interactions, and (iii) the design of experiments to identify and isolate the key parameters controlling the "TMC-oxide support" interactions.
Physical techniques play a key role in the characterization of catalyst preparation both at the macroscopic [temperature-programmed reduction (TPR), X-ray diffraction (XRD)] and molecular [Raman, X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy-extended X-ray absorption fine structure (XANES)-EXAFS, diffuse reflectance UV-vis] levels, particularly when they are used simultaneously. They give some insight into the structure of the species existing on the surface, with the oxide support behaving as a solid ligand, when exposed for a short time to the precursor complex solution or after thermal treatment, or, for longer contact times, as a reactant.