Atomic-scale study of in situ metal nanoparticle synthesis in a Ni/TiO 2 system

Peng Li, Jingyue Liu, Nabin Nag, Peter Crozier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The nucleation and evolution of Ni nanoparticles during reduction of a Ni(NO 3) 2·6H 2O precursor supported on a commercial titania substrate have been studied in situ at atomic resolution using environmental transmission electron microscopy. An incipient wetness technique was used to prepare the starting unreduced material (10 wt % Ni precursor on titania). The Ni precursor, before reduction, shows a nonuniform distribution over the titania support. It is observed that upon reduction, the initial Ni "seed" crystal nucleates within the precursor patch. The distribution and size of the Ni nanoparticles thus generated are influenced by the distribution and size of the precursor patches. In this system, we see no evidence of preferential nucleation of Ni particles on anatase or rutile. At 350 °C with CO as the reducing agent, the {111} surface facets of the Ni nanoparticles are predominant during the initial stage of nucleation and growth. However, the {111} facets are partially consumed with time, indicating that they are not thermodynamically favored in the CO atmosphere. In CO and H 2 atmospheres, Ni particles show a nonwetting morphology on titania, while in a mild oxidizing environment, a thin layer of NiO x is formed, thus giving rise to a morphology that is indicative of wetting of the support. This work provides fundamental information on understanding and controlling the important parameters involved in the preparation of a well-designed supported Ni catalyst using the incipient wetness technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13883-13890
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 28 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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