Gold-nickel bimetallic catalysts were prepared from Au/NiO and Au(OH) 3-Ni(OH)2-NiCO3 coprecipitates by treatment with hydrogen. Gold promoted the reduction of Ni(II) to Ni(0) at relatively low temperatures in the range of 100-150 C, which was confirmed by H2-TPR and in situ XAFS measurements, whereas NiO without Au was not fully reduced even at 300 C. The obtained catalysts were characterized by XRD, HAADF-STEM, XAFS, and 197Au Mössbauer, and these analyses revealed the formation of Au-Ni alloy components in the obtained catalysts. Au existed as Au nanoparticles together with Au-Ni alloy components in Au-Ni-1 prepared from Au/NiO by H2 treatment. When Au(OH)3-Ni(OH) 2-NiCO3 was treated in a flow of H2 to produce Au-Ni-2, the formation of Au NPs was not clearly observed, thereby meaning that Au atoms were highly dispersed as a single atom and/or small clusters in the obtained catalysts. Moreover, most of the Au atoms were alloyed with Ni atoms for Au-Ni-2. The obtained Au-Ni-1 and Au-Ni-2 exhibited superior catalytic activities for the selective hydrogenolysis of benzylic alcohols into alkylbenzene derivatives in terms of reaction rates normalized by catalyst surface area. Accordingly, Au-Ni-1 and Au-Ni-2 recorded the reaction rates of 4.79 and 9.79 mmol L-1 h-1 m-2, respectively. These values were greater than that obtained for Raney Ni (0.14 mmol L -1 h-1 m-2). In addition, Au-Ni-2, which contains higher Au-Ni alloy content, showed greater reaction rates when compared to Au-Ni-1. Since Au/TiO2 showed poor catalytic activity for the hydrogenolysis, Au-Ni alloy enhanced the catalytic activities of Ni(0).
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