Identification of single-site gold catalysis in acetylene hydrochlorination

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Abstract

There remains considerable debate over the active form of gold under operating conditions of a recently validated gold catalyst for acetylene hydrochlorination. We have performed an in situ x-ray absorption fine structure study of gold/carbon (Au/C) catalysts under acetylene hydrochlorination reaction conditions and show that highly active catalysts comprise single-site cationic Au entities whose activity correlates with the ratio of Au(I):Au(III) present. We demonstrate that these Au/C catalysts are supported analogs of single-site homogeneous Au catalysts and propose a mechanism, supported by computational modeling, based on a redox couple of Au(I)-Au(III) species.

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