Employing high-resolution materials characterization to understand the effects of Pd nanoparticle structure on their activity as catalysts for olefin hydrogenation

Marc R. Knecht, Dennis B. Pacardo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Scopus citations


Recent developments in nanotechnology have led to the production of new materials with a wide array of applications, particularly in catalysis. Because of their small size, nanoparticles have a maximized surface-to-volume ratio, thus making them attractive targets for use as catalytic structures; however, the number of analytical techniques available to fully characterize materials on such a size scale is quite limited. As a result, a complete understanding of the entire nanoparticle structure remains unclear, especially when considering the active structural motif from which the specific activity arises. Metallic Pd materials have been widely studied due to their immense potential as catalysts for reactions such as olefin hydrogenation and C-C bond synthesis. These materials require surface passivants to act as ligands and stabilize the nanoparticles against aggregation and bulk formation. These ligands have the added value to function as gates that selectively allow reagents to reach the active surface of the Pd nanoparticles for chemical turnover. This accounts for the observed selectivities of the catalysts with the corresponding changes in the turnover frequency values. Here we present a broad overview of recent advances in the use of Pd nano-particles for the industrially important hydrogenation reaction with a focus on characterizing and understanding the base structural effects that give rise to the catalytic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1155
Number of pages19
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Hydrogenation
  • Materials characterization
  • Nanocatalysts
  • Pd nanoparticles
  • Structure-function relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

Cite this