Selective oxidation using supported gold bimetallic and trimetallic nanoparticles
•Supported gold nanoparticles are highly effective for a range of redox reactions.•Activity can be enhanced by a second or indeed a third metallic component.•Toluene can be produced in solvent-free oxidation of benzyl alcohol.•Two strategies for switching off toluene production are described.
Supported gold nanoparticles are highly effective for a range of redox reactions. In these reactions the activity is often enhanced by the addition of a second or indeed a third metallic component. A model reaction that is often investigated is the selective oxidation of benzyl alcohol using molecular oxygen as terminal oxidant. In the presence of a solvent the complexity of this reaction can often be missed. However, in the solvent-free oxidation of benzyl alcohol to benzaldehyde using supported gold palladium nanoparticles as catalysts, there are two pathways to the principal product, benzaldehyde. One is the direct catalytic oxidation of benzyl alcohol to benzaldehyde by O2, while the second is the disproportionation of two molecules of benzyl alcohol to give equal amounts of benzaldehyde and toluene. The formation of toluene is an unwanted side reaction. In this paper the research on this reaction will be reviewed and two strategies described that can be used to switch off the formation of the non desired toluene. The first involves the use of basic supports for the gold palladium nanoparticles, which is highly effective in suppressing the formation of toluene and this may be related to the morphology of the gold palladium nanoparticles and their interaction with the support. The second involves the introduction of platinum to the gold palladium nanoparticles which also switches off toluene formation on supports that permit toluene formation in the absence of platinum. This effect may be related to the relative stability of platinum hydride.
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Journal: Catalysis Today - Volume 238, December 2014, Pages 69–73