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XPS Characterization of a Commercial Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 Catalyst: Effects of Oxidation, Reduction, and the Steam Reformation of Methanol

Volume 42, Number 5 (July 1988) Page 754-760

Goodby, Brian E.; Pemberton, Jeanne E.


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is used to characterize the surface region of a commercial Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 (33/66/1 wt %) catalyst. A systematic study of the effects of oxidation, reduction, and the steam reformation of methanol on the oxidative state of the Cu component is presented. The Zn XPS features show no changes due to the various treatments. Peak fitting procedures were developed to quantitate the Cu oxidation states on the basis of the XPS Cu 2P3/2 main and satellite features. After oxidation in pure O2 at 300°C, all Cu exists as Cu+2. The Cu/Zn ratio changes from 0.28 to 0.37 as a result of this oxidation, in comparison to the ratio in the catalyst as-received. The reduction studies involved different H2/N2 mixtures (15 to 100% H2) and temperatures (250 to 300°C). The catalyst always contains Cu+1 (7.0 ± 5.0%) and Cu0 (93.0 ± 5.0%) after reduction. The Cu/Zn ratio decreases from approximately 0.37 in the oxidized catalyst to 0.13 after reduction. After methanol-steam reformation with a 50/50 vol % mixture, the Cu 2P3/2 and Auger features are indicative of complete reduction of all Cu in the catalyst to a reduced Cu0 state not seen previously. Changes in the Cu/Zn ratio of the surface are interpreted in terms of changes in surface morphology of the Cu species.