Rh particles with an average diameter smaller than 1.5 nm have been supported on a series of zeolite Y samples. These zeolite materials contained different monovalent (H+, Na+, K+, Rb+, and Cs+) and divalent (Mg2+, Ca2+, Sr2+, and Ba2+) cations and were used as model systems to investigate the effect of promoter elements in the oxidation of CO over supported Rh particles in excess of oxygen. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy was carried out to monitor the electronic changes in the local environment of Rh-adsorbed CO. It was found that the bands corresponding to two Rh gem-dicarbonyl species, Rh+(CO)2-(Oz)2 and Rh+(CO)2-(Oz)(H2O), shift to lower wavenumbers with increasing ionic radius/charge ratio of the cation. In addition, the relative intensity of the bridge bonded CO as compared to the total absorbance of Rh-bonded CO species decreases with increasing Lewis acidity, as expressed by the Kamlet-Taft parameter R of the cation. This trend could be directly correlated to the Rh CO oxidation activity, since low temperatures at 50% CO conversion corresponded with catalyst materials with a high contribution of bridge-bonded CO species and hence with small R values. A lower Lewis acidity causes an increased electron density on the framework oxygen atoms and thus an increased electron density on the zeolite-supported Rh particles. Comparable trends have been observed previously on a similar series of cation containing zeolite supported Pt catalyst materials
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