Unusual physical and chemical properties of Cu in Ce 1-xCu xO 2 oxides

Xianqin Wang, José A. Rodriguez, Jonathan C. Hanson, Daniel Gamarra, Arturo Martínez-Arias, Marcos Fernández-García

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The structural and electronic properties of Ce 1-xCu xO 2 nano systems prepared by a reverse microemulsion method were characterized with synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and density functional calculations. The Cu atoms embedded in ceria had an oxidation state higher than those of the cations in Cu 2O or CuO. The lattice of the Ce 1-xCu xO 2 systems still adopted a fluorite-type structure, but it was highly distorted with multiple cation-oxygen distances with respect to the single cation-oxygen bond distance seen in pure ceria. The doping of CeO 2 with copper introduced a large strain into the oxide lattice and favored the formation of O vacancies, leading to a Ce 1-xCu xO 2-y stoichiometry for our materials. Cu approached the planar geometry characteristic of Cu(II) oxides, but with a strongly perturbed local order. The chemical activities of the Ce 1-xCu xO 2 nanoparticles were tested using the reactions with H 2 and O 2 as probes. During the reduction in hydrogen, an induction time was observed and became shorter after raising the reaction temperature. The fraction of copper that could be reduced in the Ce 1-xCu xO 2 oxides also depended strongly on the reaction temperature. A comparison with data for the reduction of pure copper oxides indicated that the copper embedded in ceria was much more difficult to reduce. The reduction of the Ce 1-xCu xO 2 nanoparticles was rather reversible, without the generation of a significant amount of CuO or Cu 2O phases during reoxidation. This reversible process demonstrates the unusual structural and chemical properties of the Cu-doped ceria materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19595-19603
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 27 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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