Identifying the Atomic-Level Effects of Metal Composition on the Structure and Catalytic Activity of Peptide-Templated Materials

Nicholas A. Merrill, Erik M. McKee, Kyle C. Merino, Lawrence F. Drummy, Sungsik Lee, Benjamin Reinhart, Yang Ren, Anatoly I. Frenkel, Rajesh R. Naik, Nicholas M. Bedford, Marc R. Knecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Bioinspired approaches for the formation of metallic nanomaterials have been extensively employed for a diverse range of applications including diagnostics and catalysis. These materials can often be used under sustainable conditions; however, it is challenging to control the material size, morphology, and composition simultaneously. Here we have employed the R5 peptide, which forms a 3D scaffold to direct the size and linear shape of bimetallic PdAu nanomaterials for catalysis. The materials were prepared at varying Pd:Au ratios to probe optimal compositions to achieve maximal catalytic efficiency. These materials were extensively characterized at the atomic level using transmission electron microscopy, extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy, and atomic pair distribution function analysis derived from high-energy X-ray diffraction patterns to provide highly resolved structural information. The results confirmed PdAu alloy formation, but also demonstrated that significant surface structural disorder was present. The catalytic activity of the materials was studied for olefin hydrogenation, which demonstrated enhanced reactivity from the bimetallic structures. These results present a pathway to the bioinspired production of multimetallic materials with enhanced properties, which can be assessed via a suite of characterization methods to fully ascertain structure/function relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11968-11979
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 23 2015


  • X-ray analysis
  • bimetallic nanostructures
  • bioinspired
  • catalysis
  • peptide templates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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