Nano Research

Article Title

Theoretical investigations of the catalytic role of water in propene epoxidation on gold nanoclusters: A hydroperoxyl-mediated pathway


Gold nanocluster, propene epoxidation, hydroperoxyl radical, density functional theory


We report a comprehensive theoretical investigation of the catalytic reaction mechanisms of propene epoxidation on gold nanoclusters using density functional theory (DFT). We have shown that water acts as a catalytic promoter for propene epoxidation on gold catalysts. Even without reducible supports, hydroperoxyl (OOH) and hydroxyl (OH) radicals are readily formed on small-size gold clusters from co-adsorbed H2O and O2, with energy barriers as low as 4–6 kcal/mol (1 cal = 4.186 J). Propene epoxidation occurs easily through reactions between C3H6 and the weakened O–O bond of the OOH radicals on the surfaces of gold clusters.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press