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New Trends in Gold Catalysts

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Catalysts 2014, 4, 299-304; doi:10.3390/catal4030299 Editorial New Trends in Gold Catalysts Leonarda F. Liotta Institute of Nanostructured Materials, Palermo Research Division, CNR-ISMN, via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy; E-Mail: liotta@pa.ismn.cnr.it; Tel.: +39-91-6809371; Fax: +39-91-6809399 Received: 26 June 2014; in revised form: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014 1. Background Gold is an element that has fascinated mankind for millennia. The catalytic properties of gold have been a source of debate, due to its complete chemical inertness when in a bulk form, while it can oxidize CO at temperatures as low as ~200 K when in a nanocrystalline state, as discovered by Haruta in the late 1980s [1]. Since then, extensive activity in both applied and fundamental research on gold has been initiated. The importance of the catalysis by gold represents one of the fasted growing fields in science and is proven by the promising applications in several fields, such as green chemistry and environmental catalysis, in the synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes, as modifiers of Ni catalysts for methane steam and dry reforming reactions and in biological and electrochemistry applications. The range of reactions catalyzed by gold, as well as the suitability of different supports and the influence of the preparation conditions have been widely explored and optimized in applied research [2]. Gold catalysts appeared to be very different from the other noble metal-based catalysts, due to their marked dependence on the preparation method, which is crucial for the genesis of the catalytic activity. Several methods, including deposition-precipitation, chemical vapor deposition and cation adsorption, have been applied for the preparation of gold catalysts over reducible oxides, like TiO2. Among these methods, deposition-precipitation has been the most frequently employed method for Au loading, and it involves the use of tetrachloroauric (III) acid as a precursor. On the other hand, the number of articles dealing with Au-loaded acidic supports is smaller than that on basic supports, possibly because the deposition of [AuCl4]− or [AuOHxCl4−x]− species on acidic supports is difficult, due to their very low point of zero charge. Despite this challenge, several groups have reported the use of acidic zeolites as supports for gold. Zeolites are promising supports for Au stabilization, because of the presence of ion-exchange sites, such as NH4+, that can be substituted by Au+ ions through the elimination of NH4Cl [3]. Moreover, zeolites, due to their high thermal stability, the presence of a large surface area and micropores, may hinder Au sintering. catalysts ISSN 2073-4344 www.mdpi.com/journal/catalysts OPEN ACCESS

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