Influence of leaching on surface composition, microstructure, and valence band of single grain icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal



Lowe, Michael, Yadav, TP, Fournée, V, Ledieu, J, McGrath, Ronan ORCID: 0000-0002-9880-5741 and Sharma, Hem ORCID: 0000-0003-0456-6258
(2015) Influence of leaching on surface composition, microstructure, and valence band of single grain icosahedral Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 142 (09).

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Abstract

The use of quasicrystals as precursors to catalysts for the steam reforming of methanol is potentially one of the most important applications of these new materials. To develop application as a technology requires a detailed understanding of the microscopic behavior of the catalyst. Here, we report the effect of leaching treatments on the surface microstructure, chemical composition, and valence band of the icosahedral (i-) Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal in an attempt to prepare a model catalyst. The high symmetry fivefold surface of a single grain i-Al-Cu-Fe quasicrystal was leached with NaOH solution for varying times, and the resulting surface was characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The leaching treatments preferentially remove Al producing a capping layer consisting of Fe and Cu oxides. The subsurface layer contains elemental Fe and Cu in addition to the oxides. The quasicrystalline bulk structure beneath remains unchanged. The subsurface gradually becomes Fe3O4 rich with increasing leaching time. The surface after leaching exhibits micron sized dodecahedral cavities due to preferential leaching along the fivefold axis. Nanoparticles of the transition metals and their oxides are precipitated on the surface after leaching. The size of the nanoparticles is estimated by high resolution transmission microscopy to be 5-20 nm, which is in agreement with the AFM results. Selected area electron diffraction (SAED) confirms the crystalline nature of the nanoparticles. SAED further reveals the formation of an interface between the high atomic density lattice planes of nanoparticles and the quasicrystal. These results provide an important insight into the preparation of model catalysts of nanoparticles for steam reforming of methanol.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2016 10:52
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2021 19:17
DOI: 10.1063/1.4913567
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3000971