Two-Dimensional Pd Rafts Confined in Copper Nanosheets for Selective Semihydrogenation of Acetylene

Xianbiao Fu, Jian Liu, Siriluk Kanchanakungwankul, Xiaobing Hu, Qin Yue, Donald G. Truhlar, Joseph T. Hupp, Yijin Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The development of highly selective and active catalysts to catalyze an industrially important semihydrogenation reaction remains an open challenge. Here, we report the design of a bimetallic Pd/Cu(111) catalyst with Pd rafts confined in a Cu nanosheet, which exhibits desirable catalytic performance for acetylene semihydrogenation to ethylene with the selectivity of >90%. Theory calculations show that Pd atoms replacing neighboring Cu atoms in Cu(111) can improve the catalytic activity by reducing the energy barrier of the semihydrogenation reaction, as compared to unsubstituted Cu(111), and can improve the selectivity by weakening the adsorption of C2H4, as compared to a Pd(111) surface. The presence of Pd rafts confined in Cu nanosheets effectively turns on Cu nanosheets for semihydrogenation of acetylene with high activity and selectivity under mild reaction conditions. This work offers a well-defined nanostructured Pd/Cu(111) model catalyst that bridges the pressure and materials' gap between surface-science catalysis and practical catalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5620-5626
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 14 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 American Chemical Society.


  • Pd rafts
  • Two-dimensional materials
  • acetylene semihydrogenation
  • copper nanosheets
  • interfaces


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