Gold Oxides – Catalyst for Oxygen Catalysis

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gold oxides are very insoluble thermally stable gold sources, suitable for glass, optic and ceramic applications. They decompose at 350 degrees C, releasing oxygen and reverting to elemental gold.

In a new study, scientists from RUB have uncovered that water molecules facilitate the activation of molecular oxygen (O2) in aqueous gold/metal oxide clusters, curbing energy costs by 25 per cent. This finding has important implications for catalysis in chemical reactions.

The chemical reaction between a metal and an oxide or hydroxide of that metal is called its “reactivity series”. Copper, for example, is below hydrogen in the reactivity series so it will not react with hydrogen oxide, and silver, which is below aluminum in the reactivity series, won’t react with aluminium oxide either.

Most metal oxides are insoluble and do not react with water, however, some are soluble and will react with water and give their respective bases or alkalis. For example, sodium oxide is soluble and will react with water to form sodium hydroxide and sodium gas.

These base or alkaline solutions are very strong and can bind to other minerals. These can be used to make soap, paper, and other materials.

Another group of oxides of the metal are amphoteric, i.e. they can react with an acid or a base because of their different chemical properties. These are very interesting compounds and they can be a key in a water splitting cycle.

These oxides have been studied with a variety of methods, including computational calculations and XPS. They also have been investigated by combining quantum mechanical calculations with a “group additivity” approach. These techniques allowed researchers to predict a number of aqueous metal oxide and hydroxide clusters from Group 13 elements:

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