Bimetallic Effect of Single Nanocatalysts Visualized by Super-Resolution Catalysis Imaging

Guanqun Chen, Ningmu Zou, Bo Chen, Justin B. Sambur, Eric Choudhary, Peng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Compared with their monometallic counterparts, bimetallic nanoparticles often show enhanced catalytic activity associated with the bimetallic interface. Direct quantitation of catalytic activity at the bimetallic interface is important for understanding the enhancement mechanism, but challenging experimentally. Here using single-molecule super-resolution catalysis imaging in correlation with electron microscopy, we report the first quantitative visualization of enhanced bimetallic activity within single bimetallic nanoparticles. We focus on heteronuclear bimetallic PdAu nanoparticles that present a well-defined Pd-Au bimetallic interface in catalyzing a photodriven fluorogenic disproportionation reaction. Our approach also enables a direct comparison between the bimetallic and monometallic regions within the same nanoparticle. Theoretical calculations further provide insights into the electronic nature of N-O bond activation of the reactant (resazurin) adsorbed on bimetallic sites. Subparticle activity correlation between bimetallic enhancement and monometallic activity suggests that the favorable locations to construct bimetallic sites are those monometallic sites with higher activity, leading to a strategy for making effective bimetallic nanocatalysts. The results highlight the power of super-resolution catalysis imaging in gaining insights that could help improve nanocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1189-1197
Number of pages9
JournalACS Central Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 22 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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