Simultaneous pore enlargement and introduction of highly dispersed Fe active sites in MSNs for enhanced catalytic activity
An effective post-hydrothermal treatment strategy has been developed to dope highly dispersed iron catalytical centers into the framework of mesoporous silica, to keep the particle size in nanometric scale, and in the meanwhile, to expand the pore size of the synthesized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs). Characterization techniques such as XRD, BET, SEM and TEM support that the synthesized samples are long period ordered with particles size about 100 nm and a relatively large pore size of ca. 3.5 nm. UV-vis, XPS and EPR measurements demonstrate that the introduced iron active centers are highly dispersed in a coordinatively unsaturated status. NH3-TPD verifies that the acid amount of iron-doped MSNs is quite high. The synthesized nanocatalysts show an excellent catalytic performance for benzylation of benzene by benzyl chloride, and they present relatively higher yield and selectivity to diphenylmethane with a lower iron content and much shorter reaction time.