Synthesis and Structure-Activity Characterization of a Single-Site MoO2Catalytic Center Anchored on Reduced Graphene Oxide

Yiqi Liu, Jiaqi Li, Anusheela Das, Hacksung Kim, Leighton O. Jones, Qing Ma, Michael J. Bedzyk, George C. Schatz*, Yosi Kratish, Tobin J. Marks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Molecularly derived single-site heterogeneous catalysts can bridge the understanding and performance gaps between conventional homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, guiding the rational design of next-generation catalysts. While impressive advances have been made with well-defined oxide supports, the structural complexity of other supports and the nature of the grafted surface species present an intriguing challenge. In this study, single-site Mo(-O)2 species grafted onto reduced graphene oxide (rGO/MoO2) are characterized by XPS, DRIFTS, powder XRD, N2 physisorption, NH3-TPD, aqueous contact angle, active site poisoning assay, Mo EXAFS, model compound single-crystal XRD, DFT, and catalytic performance. NH3-TPD reveals that the anchored MoO2 moiety is not strongly acidic, while Mo 3d5/2 XPS assigns the oxidation state as Mo(VI), and XRD shows little rGO periodicity change on MoO2 grafting. Contact angle analysis shows that MoO2 grafting consumes rGO surface polar groups, yielding a more hydrophobic surface. The rGO/MoO2 DRIFTS assigns features at 959 and 927 cm-1 to the symmetric and antisymmetric Mo-O stretching modes, respectively, of an isolated cis-(O-Mo-O) moiety, in agreement with DFT computation. Moreover, the Mo EXAFS rGO/MoO2 structural data are consistent with isolated (C-O)2-Mo(-O)2 species having two Mo-O bonds and two Mo-O bonds at distances of 1.69(3) and 1.90(3) Å, respectively. rGO/MoO2 is also more active than the previously reported AC/MoO2 catalyst, with reductive carbonyl coupling TOFs approaching 1.81 × 103 h-1. rGO/MoO2 is environmentally robust and multiply recyclable with 69 ± 2% of the Mo sites catalytically significant. Overall, rGO/MoO2 is a structurally well-defined and versatile single-site Mo(VI) dioxo heterogeneous catalytic system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21532-21540
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 29 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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