The structure of the cobalt present in carbon-supported Co and Co-Mo sulfide catalysts was studied by means of X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Co K-edge and by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Thiophene hydrodesulfurization activities were used to measure the catalytic properties of these catalysts. By comparison of the EXAFS and XANES spectra of the catalysts with those of c09sS and Cos2 model compounds, it was concluded that all Co atoms in a catalyst prepared with nitrilotriacetic acid as complexing agent were in the 'Co-Mo-S' state, while the Co atoms in a conventionally prepared catalyst were partly present in a CO$8-like structure and partly in a 'Co-Mo-S' structure. The Co atoms in the To-Mc-S' state have a distorted 5- to 6-fold sulfur coordination, and on the average, every Co atom is in contact with two Mo atoms at a distance of 2.80 A. On the basis of these data, the most likely position for the Co atoms is in front of the square sulfur faces of the MoS6 trigonal prisms along the edges of the MoS, crystallites with two additional sulfur atoms or H2S molecules attached. The Co atoms in the sulfided Co/C catalyst have Co-S and Co-Co coordinations as in c09sg, although the sulfur coordination number is higher
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