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Scanning tunneling microscopic studies of SiO2 thin film supported metal nano-clusters
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This dissertation is focused on understanding heterogeneous metal catalysts supported on oxides using a model catalyst system of SiO2 thin film supported metal nano-clusters. The primary technique applied to this study is scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The most important constituent of this model catalyst system is the SiO2 thin film, as it must be thin and homogeneous enough to apply electron or ion based surface science techniques as well as STM. Ultra-thin SiO2 films were successfully synthesized on a Mo(112) single crystal. The electronic and geometric structure of the SiO2 thin film was investigated by STM combined with LEED, Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The relationship between defects on the SiO2 thin film and the nucleation and growth of metal nano-clusters was also investigated. By monitoring morphology changes during thermal annealing, it was found that the metal-support interaction is strongly dependent on the type of metal as well as on the defect density of the SiO2 thin film. Especially, it was found that oxygen vacancies and Si impurities play an important role in the formation of Pd-silicide. By substituting Ti atoms into the SiO2 thin film network, an atomically mixed TiO2-SiO2 thin film was synthesized. Furthermore, these Ti atoms play a role as heterogeneous defects, resulting in the creation of nucleation sites for Au nano-clusters. A marked increase in Au cluster density due to Ti defects was observed in STM. A TiO2-SiO2 thin film consisting of atomic Ti as well as TiOx islands was also synthesized by using higher amounts of Ti (17 %). More importantly, this oxide surface was found to have sinter resistant properties for Au nano-clusters, which are desirable in order to make highly active Au nano-clusters more stable under reaction conditions.
Min, Byoung Koun (2004). Scanning tunneling microscopic studies of SiO2 thin film supported metal nano-clusters. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from