Nanoparticles, stm, tio2(110), inverse micelle encapsulation, xas, exafs, xanes, alumina, al2o3, shape effect, np support interaction, in situ, operando, coarsening, sintering, shape determination, epitaxial relation, ostwald ripening, diffusion coalescense, pt, au, platinum, gold


Recent advances in nanoscience and technology have provided the scientific community with new exciting opportunities to rationally design and fabricate materials at the nanometer scale with drastically different properties as compared to their bulk counterparts. A variety of challenges related to nanoparticle (NP) synthesis and materials characterization have been tackled , allowing us to make more homogenous, well defined, size- and shape-selected NPs, and to probe deeper and more comprehensively into their distinct properties. In this dissertation, a variety of phenomena relevant to nanosized materials are investigated, including the thermal stability of NPs and coarsening phenomena in different environments, the experimental determination of NP shapes, gaining insight into NP-support interactions, epitaxial relationships, and unusual thermodynamic and electronic properties of NPs, including the effect of adsorbates on the electron density of states of small clusters, and the chemical, and structural evolution of NPs under reaction conditions. In chapter 2, a general description of different characterization tools that are used in this dissertation is provided. In chapter 3, the details of two different methods used for NP synthesis, namely inverse micelle encapsulation and physical vapor deposition (PVD) are described. Chapter 4 describes the thermal stability and coarsening behavior of Pt NPs supported on TiO2(110) and γ-Al2O3 as a function of the synthesis method, support pretreatment, and annealing environment. For the Pt/TiO2(110) system, micellesynthesized NPs showed remarkable stability against coarsening for annealing temperatures up to 1060°C in vacuum, in contrast to PVD-grown NPs. When comparing v different annealing environments (H2, O2, H2O), Pt NPs on γ-Al2O3 annealed in O2 were found to be the least affected by coarsening, followed by those heated in H2O vapor. The largest NP growth was observed for the sample annealed in H2. The role of the PtOx species formed under oxidizing conditions will be discussed. In chapter 5, the shape of Pt and Au NPs and their epitaxial relationship with the TiO2(110) support was extracted from scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) measurements. Three main categories of NP shapes were identified, and through shape modeling, the contribution of facets with different orientations was obtained as a function of the number of atoms in each NP. It was also shown that the micellesynthesized Pt and Au NPs have an epitaxial relationship with the support, which is evident from the fact that they always have one symmetry axis parallel to TiO2(110) atomic rows in [001] directions. Chapter 6 describes how the presence of NPs on TiO2(110) surface affects its reconstruction upon high temperature annealing in vacuum. In contrast to NP-free TiO2(110) substrates, long and narrow TiO2 stripes are observed for Pt NP-decorated surfaces. This phenomenon is explained based on the stabilization of TiO2, induced by Pt NPs, which hinders the desorption of oxygen atoms in TiO2 to vacuum. In chapter 7, a systematic investigation of the thermodynamic properties of γ- Al2O3-supported Pt NPs and their evolution with decreasing NP size is presented. A combination of in situ extended x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (EXAFS), ex situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements, and NP shape modeling is used to obtain the NPs shape, thermal expansion coefficient, and Debye vi temperature. The unusual thermodynamic behavior of these NPs such as their negative thermal expansion and enhanced Debye temperature are discussed in detail. Chapter 8 presents an investigation of the electronic properties of size-controlled γ-Al2O3-supported Pt NPs and their evolution with decreasing NP size and adsorbate (H2) coverage. The hydrogen coverage of Pt NPs at different temperatures was estimated based on XANES data and was found to be influenced by the NP size, and shape. In addition, correlations between the shift in the center of the unoccupied d-band density of states (theory) and energy shifts of the XANES spectra (experiment) upon hydrogen chemisorption as well as upon modification of the NP structure were established. Chapter 9 is dedicated to an operando study, describing the evolution of the structure and oxidation state of ZrO2-supported Pd nanocatalysts during the in-situ selective reduction of NO in H2 via EXAFS and XANES measurements.


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Graduation Date





Roldan Cuenya, Beatriz


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

June 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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