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Linking the defective structure of Boron-Doped Carbon Nano-Onions with their catalytic properties: Experimental and theoretical studies

Szymanski, G.S., Suzuki, Y., Ohba, T., Sulikowski, B., Góra-Marek, K., Tarach, K.A., Koter, S., Kowalczyk, P., Ilnicka, A., Zięba, M., Echegoyen, L., Terzyk, A.P. and Plonska-Brzezinska, M.E. (2021) Linking the defective structure of Boron-Doped Carbon Nano-Onions with their catalytic properties: Experimental and theoretical studies. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 13 (43). pp. 51628-51642.

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Defects are widely present in nanomaterials, and they are recognized as the active sites that tune surface properties in the local region for catalysis. Recently, the theory linking defect structures and catalytic properties of nanocatalysts has been most commonly described. In this study, we prepared boron-doped carbon nano-onions (B-CNOs) by applying an annealing treatment of ultradispersed nanodiamond particles and amorphous boron. These experimental conditions guarantee doping of CNOs with boron atoms in the entire carbon nanostructure, thereby ensuring structural homogeneity. In our research, we discuss the correlations between defective structures of B-CNOs with their catalytic properties toward SO2 and tert-butanol dehydration. We show that there is a close relationship between the catalytic properties of the B-CNOs and the experimental conditions for their formation. It is not only the mass of the substrates used for the formation of B-CNOs that is crucial, that is, the mass ratio of NDs to amorphous B, but also the process, including temperature and gas atmosphere. As it was expected, all B-CNOs demonstrated significant catalytic activity in HSO3– oxidation. However, the subsequent annealing in an air atmosphere diminished their catalytic activity. Unfortunately, no direct relationship between the catalytic activity and the presence of heteroatoms on the B-CNO surface was observed. There was a linear dependence between catalytic activity and Raman reactivity factors for each of the B-CNO materials. In contrast to SO2 oxidation, the B-CNO-a samples showed higher catalytic activity in tert-butanol dehydration due to the presence of Brønsted and Lewis acid sites. The occurence of three types of boron-Lewis sites differing in electron donor properties was confirmed using quantitative infrared spectroscopic measurements of pyridine adsorption.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
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