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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 9, pp. 1759-1769

Experimental approaches to the preparation of supported metal nanoparticles

David Barkhuizen, Itai Mabaso, Elvera Viljoen, Cathrin Welker, Michael Claeys, Eric van Steen and Jack C. Q. Fletcher

Centre for Catalysis Research, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa

Abstract: Supported metal particles play an important role in heterogeneous catalysis. It has been shown lately that the size of the metal crystallites in the supported metal catalysts has a profound effect on the catalytic activity, thus necessitating the need for synthesis methods aimed at a strict control of the metal crystallite size in these catalysts. The classical methods used to synthesize supported metal catalysts typically yield a wide metal crystallite size distribution, and average crystallite sizes which are difficult to control. Suitable techniques have been developed to obtain supported metal catalysts with defined crystallite size distributions, inter alia impregnation of reverse micelle microemulsions, colloid impregnation following reverse micelle precipitation or crystallization, and deposition-precipitation. Using these techniques, a series of supported Ru/γ-Al2O3, Co/SiO2, Fe/γ-Al2O3, Fe/C, and Au/ZnO catalysts have been prepared and characterized.