There is interest in minimizing or eliminating the use of Pt in catalysts by replacing it with more widely abundant and cost-effective elements. The alloying of Pt with non-noble metals is a potential strategy for reducing Pt use because interactions between Pt and non-noble metals can modify the catalyst structure and electronic properties. Here, a γ-Al2O3-supported bimetallic catalyst [Pt(0.1)Co(1)/Al2O3] was prepared which contained 0.1 wt % Pt and 1 wt % Co and thus featured an extremely low Pt : Co ratio (<1 : 30 mol/mol). The Pt and Co in this catalyst formed alloy nanoparticles in which isolated electron-rich Pt atoms were present on the nanoparticle surface. The activity of this Pt(0.1)Co(1)/Al2O3 catalyst for the purification of automotive exhaust was comparable to the activities of 0.3 and 0.5 wt % Pt/γ-Al2O3 catalysts. Electron-rich Pt and metallic Co promoted activation of NOx and oxidization of CO and hydrocarbons, respectively. This strategy of tuning the surrounding structure and electronic state of a noble metal by alloying it with an excess of a non-noble metal will enable reduced noble metal use in catalysts for exhaust purification and other environmentally important reactions.
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