Dynamic State and Active Structure of Ni–Co Catalyst in Carbon Nanofiber Growth Revealed by in Situ Transmission Electron Microscopy
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- Dynamic State and Active Structure of Ni–Co Catalyst in Carbon Nanofiber Growth Revealed by in Situ Transmission Electron Microscopy
- Fan, Hua; Qiu, Lu; Fedorov, Alexey; Willinger, Marc-Georg; Ding, Feng; Huang, Xing
- Issue Date
- American Chemical Society
- ACS NANO, v.15, no.11, pp.17895 - 17906
- Alloy catalysts often show superior effectiveness in the growth of carbon nanotubes/nanofibers (CNTs/CNFs) as compared to monometallic catalysts. However, due to the lack of an understanding of the active state and active structure, the origin of the superior performance of alloy catalysts is unknown. In this work, we report an in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) study of the CNF growth enabled by one of the most active known alloy catalysts, i.e., Ni–Co, providing insights into the active state and the interaction between Ni and Co in the working catalyst. We reveal that the functioning catalyst is highly dynamic, undergoing constant reshaping and periodic elongation/contraction. Atomic-scale imaging combined with in situ electron energy-loss spectroscopy further identifies the active structure as a Ni–Co metallic alloy (face-centered cubic, FCC). Aided by the molecular dynamics simulation and density functional theory calculations, we rationalize the dynamic behavior of the catalyst and the growth mechanism of CNFs and provide insight into the origin of the superior performance of the Ni–Co alloy catalyst.
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