In the solvent free oxidation of benzyl alcohol, using supported gold–palladium nanoalloys, toluene is often one of major by-products and it is formed by the disproportionation of benzyl alcohol. Gold–palladium catalysts on acidic supports promote both the disproportionation of benzyl alcohol and oxidative dehydrogenation to form benzaldehyde. Basic supports completely switch off disproportionation and the gold–palladium nanoparticles catalyse the oxidative dehydrogenation reaction exclusively. In an attempt to provide further details on the course of these reactions, we have utilized in situ ATR-IR, in situ DRIFT and inelastic neutron scattering spectroscopic methods, and in this article we present the results of these in situ spectroscopic studies
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