Direct Visualization of Independent Ta Centers Supported on Two-Dimensional TiO2 Nanosheets

Zhenyu Bo, Nicholas E. Thornburg, Lingxuan Peng, Jose Julio Gutierrez Moreno, Michael Nolan, Laurence D. Marks, Justin M. Notestein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Highly dispersed, supported oxides are ubiquitous solid catalysts but can be challenging to characterize with atomic precision. Here, it is shown that crystalline anatase TiO2 nanosheets (â ¼5 nm thick) are ideal supports for imaging highly dispersed active sites. Ta cations were deposited by several routes, and high-resolution high angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy was used to determine the location of Ta with respect to the TiO2 lattice and quantify Ta-Ta distances. In the best case, it is shown that >80% of Ta atoms are isolated from one another, whereas other techniques are blind to this critical catalytic property or give only qualitative estimates. TiO2 nanosheets may prove to be a useful platform for other types of catalysis studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8103-8108
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 13 2019


  • microscopy
  • oxides
  • single atom catalysts
  • supported catalysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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