ABSTRACT: Microwave-based methods are widely employed to synthesize metal nanoparticles on various substrates. However, the detailed mechanism of formation of such hybrids has not been addressed. In this paper, we describe the thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of reduction of metal salts by ethylene glycol under microwave heating conditions. On the basis of this analysis, we identify the temperatures above which the reduction of the metal salt is thermodynamically favorable and temperatures above which the rates of homogeneous nucleation of the metal and the heterogeneous nucleation of the metal on supports are favored. We delineate different conditions which favor the heterogeneous nucleation of the metal on the supports over homogeneous nucleation in the solvent medium based on the dielectric loss parameters of the solvent and the support and the metal/solvent and metal/support interfacial energies. Contrary to current understanding, we show that metal particles can be selectively formed on the substrate even under situations where the temperature of the substrate is lower than that of the surrounding medium. The catalytic activity of the Pt/CeO(2) and Pt/TiO(2) hybrids synthesized by this method for H(2) combustion reaction shows that complete conversion is achieved at temperatures as low as 100 °C with Pt-CeO(2) catalyst and at 50 °C with Pt-TiO(2) catalyst. Our method thus opens up possibilities for rational synthesis of high-activity supported catalysts using a fast microwave-based reduction method.
ACS Nano 09/2011; 5(10):8049-61. · 10.77 Impact Factor