Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.139, No.36, 12342-12345, 2017
Formation of Oxygen Radical Sites on MoVNbTeOx by Cooperative Electron Redistribution
A novel pathway of increasing the surface density of catalytically active oxygen radical sites on a MoVTeNb oxide (M1 phase) catalyst during alkane oxidative dehydrogenation is reported. The novel sites form when a fraction of Te4+ is reduced and emitted from the M1 crystals under catalytic operating conditions, without compromising structural integrity of the catalyst framework. Density functional theory calculations show this Te reduction induces multiple inter-related electron transfers, and the associated cooperative effects lead to the formation of O- radicals. The in situ observations identify complex dynamic changes in the catalyst on an atomistic level, highlighting a new way to tailor structure and dynamics for highly active catalysts.