Palladium atoms in dilute Pd-in-Au alloys may form beautiful patterns in TEM images that are as mesmerizing as those colorful dots in the paintings of Georges Seurat. They are also excellent catalysts - but how to identify their most active ensembles in reaction conditions has been a very challenging task, not only because of the small size of the ensembles that may contain 1, 2 or 3 Pd atoms surrounded by Au atoms, but also because of their restructuring (segregation, fragmentation, dissolution...) in reaction conditions. An IMASC team led by early career investigators from Stony Brook, Harvard, UCLA and Penn deduced the structures of these ensembles from the correlative, operando measurements and theory, putting also machine learning to the task. This article was published today in Nature Communications.
Read more about how this reasearch solves a long-standing problem about catalysis science in a featured article from Stonybrook University.