Nat Commun. 2022 Sep 17;13(1):5458. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33187-y.
Au catalysts have drawn broad attention for catalytic CO oxidation. However, a molecular-level understanding of the reaction mechanism on a fast time-resolved scale is still lacking. Herein, we apply in situ DRIFTS and UV-Vis spectroscopy to monitor the rapid dynamic changes during CO oxidation over Au/TiO2. A pronounced transient inactivation effect likely due to a structural change of Au/TiO2 induced by the reactants (CO and O2) is observed at the beginning of the reaction. The transient inactivation effect is affected by the ratio of CO and O2 concentrations. More importantly, during the unstable state, the electronic properties of the Au particles change, as indicated by the shift of the CO stretching vibration. UV-Vis spectroscopy corroborates the structure change of Au/TiO2 surface induced by the reactants, which leads to a weakening of the Au catalyst’s ability to be oxidized (less O2 adsorption), resulting in the transient inactivation effect.