Etude des propriétés morphologiques et catalytiques d'agrégats d'or triés en taille et déposés sur le TiO2(110)

This thesis aims to find, for the first time, a direct relation between the size and morphology of small metallic nanostructures (gold in this case) supported on a metal-oxide surface to their catalytic activity. In this perspective, three main topics have been treated during this thesis. The first part concerns the design and realization of a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) supposed to work over a wide temperature range (4K < T ≤ 300K). This new device replaces an existing solution. The coarse approach of the scanning tip towards the sample is realized by an axial motor based on a sapphire prism gliding on shear piezos in the stick&slip; mode. The new STM is very rigid moving the resonance frequencies to higher values with respect to the existing solution. Operation of the motor down to T = 8K has been proven, however topographic imaging has been performed only in the temperature range 77K < T ≤ 300K. The second part of this work focuses on a study of the evolution of the morphology of gold nanoparticles on a TiO2(110) surface. Size-selected clusters Aun+ (n = 5, 7) are deposited at a well defined kinetic energy on the surface held at room temperature. Subsequent annealing of the sample has been performed stepwise. After each temperature increase, the morphology has been determined by STM. The evolution as a function of surface temperature has been studied for two different surface reconstructions, TiO2(110)-(1×1) and TiO2(110)-(2×1). The deposition process leads only to small fragmentation and the morphology is stable up to T = 400K. Further increase of the surface temperature leads to sintering of the particles by Ostwald ripening as shown by an exponential decrease of the island density with temperature. The main topic of this thesis, the correlation between morphology and catalytic activity, is described in the last part of this manuscript. For the first time we are able to relate the onset of CO2 production from CO and O2 to a clear change in the morphology. The catalytic activity of the particles strongly depends on their size and dimensionality. The relative activity per particle has been determined and we find a clear maximum for clusters containing 60 atoms and are 3 to 4 monolayers high. These results are discussed in contrast of literature data on the same but also on different metal-oxide surfaces.

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