Skip to main content
Log in

Observation of Adsorbed Hydrogen Species on Supported Metal Catalysts by Inelastic Neutron Scattering

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Topics in Catalysis Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Adsorbed hydrogen (H) species on catalyst surfaces are important active intermediates in many catalytic reactions and detailed analyses of them are necessary to understand the catalyses. Inelastic neutron scattering (INS) enables direct and selective observation of H species due to the extremely large incoherent neutron scattering cross section of a hydrogen atom. In the present study, the adsorbed H species on some heterogeneous precious metal catalysts supported by alumina and carbon black were investigated by in situ INS spectroscopy with a newly designed sample cell. The newly designed double-walled long cell gave clear INS spectra with less elastic scattering. Three alumina-supported metal catalysts having Pt, Pd, and Rh metal nanoparticles with different particle sizes exhibited different INS spectra in intensities and band distribution. Observation of the H species on the metal nanoparticles and the alumina surface revealed their properties. In addition, the H atoms stored in Pd nanoparticles were observed as palladium hydride. In contrast, the H species on a Pt catalyst supported by carbon black were found to be strongly adsorbed on the carbon support. The properties of these H species were dependent on both the properties of the precious metals and those of the support materials.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Christmann K (1988) Interaction of hydrogen with solid surfaces. Surf Sci Rep 9:1–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Markoví NM, Ross PN (2002) Surface science studies of model fuel cell electrocatalysts. Surf Sci Rep 45:117–229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Zaera F (2013) Key unanswered questions about the mechanism of olefin hydrogenation catalysis by transition-metal surfaces: A surface-science perspective. Phys Chem Chem Phys 15:11988–12003.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Zaera F (2017) The surface chemistry of metal-based hydrogenation catalysis. ACS Catal 7:4947–4967.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Meemken F, Baiker A (2017) Recent progress in heterogeneous asymmetric hydrogenation of C=O and C=C bonds on supported noble metal catalysts. Chem Rev 117:11522–11569.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Delgado JA, Benkirane O, Claver C et al (2017) Advances in the preparation of highly selective nanocatalysts for the semi-hydrogenation of alkynes using colloidal approaches. Dalt Trans 46:12381–12403.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Zhang L, Zhou M, Wang A, Zhang T (2020) Selective hydrogenation over supported metal catalysts: From nanoparticles to single atoms. Chem Rev 120:683–733.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Prins R (2012) Hydrogen spillover. Facts and fiction Chem Rev 112:2714–2738.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Sears VF (1992) Neutron scattering lengths and cross sections. Neutron News 3:26–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Albers BP, Prescher G, Seibold K, Parker SF (1999) Applications of neutron scattering for investigating heterogeneous catalysts. Chem Eng Technol 22:135–137.<135::AIDCEAT135>3.0.CO;2-4

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Albers P, Burmeister R, Seibold K et al (1999) Investigations of palladium catalysts on different carbon supports. J Catal 181:145–154.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Albers P, Auer E, Ruth K, Parker SF (2000) Inelastic neutron scattering investigation of the nature of surface sites occupied by hydrogen on highly dispersed platinum on commercial carbon black supports. J Catal 196:174–179.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Albers PW, Lopez M, Sextl G et al (2004) Inelastic neutron scattering investigation on the site occupation of atomic hydrogen on platinum particles of different size. J Catal 223:44–53.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Carosso M, Lazzarini A, Piovano A et al (2018) Looking for the active hydrogen species in a 5 wt% Pt/C catalyst: A challenge for inelastic neutron scattering. Faraday Discuss 208:227–242.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Juárez R, Parker SF, Concepción P et al (2010) Heterolytic and heterotopic dissociation of hydrogen on ceria-supported gold nanoparticles. Combined inelastic neutron scattering and FT-IR spectroscopic study on the nature and reactivity of surface hydrogen species. Chem Sci 1:731–738.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Carosso M, Vottero E, Lazzarini A et al (2019) Dynamics of reactive species and reactant-induced reconstruction of Pt clusters in Pt/Al2O3 catalysts. ACS Catal 9:7124–7136.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Yamazoe S, Yamamoto A, Hosokawa S et al (2021) Identification of hydrogen species on Pt/Al2O3 by in situ inelastic neutron scattering and their reactivity with ethylene. Catal Sci Technol 11:116–123.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Kofu M, Hashimoto N, Akiba H et al (2017) Vibrational states of atomic hydrogen in bulk and nanocrystalline palladium studied by neutron spectroscopy. Phys Rev B 96:054304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Albers P, Poniatowski M, Parker SF, Ross DK (2000) Inelastic neutron scattering study on different grades of palladium of varying pretreatment. J Phys Condens Matter 12:4451–4463.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Albers PW, Pietsch J, Krauter J, Parker SF (2003) Investigations of activated carbon catalyst supports from different natural sources. Phys Chem Chem Phys 5:1941–1949.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Asakura H, Yamazoe S, Misumi T et al (2020) xTunes: a new XAS processing tool for detailed and on-the-fly analysis. Radiat Phys Chem 175:2018–2021.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Ankudinov A, Ravel B (1998) Real-space multiple-scattering calculation and interpretation of x-ray-absorption near-edge structure. Phys Rev B - Condens Matter Mater Phys 58:7565–7576.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Kajimoto R, Nakamura M, Inamura Y et al (2011) The Fermi chopper spectrometer 4SEASONS at J-PARC. J Phys Soc Japan 80:SB025.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Nakamura M, Kajimoto R, Inamura Y et al (2009) First demonstration of novel method for inelastic neutron scattering measurement utilizing multiple incident energies. J Phys Soc Japan 78:1–4.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Inamura Y, Nakatani T, Suzuki J, Otomo T (2013) Development status of software “Utsusemi” for chopper spectrometers at MLF. J-PARC. J Phys Soc Japan 82:SA031.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kajimoto R, Nakamura M, Iida K et al (2020) Energy resolution and neutron flux of the 4SEASONS spectrometer revisited. J Neutron Res 22:99–107.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Wuttke J (1999) Improved sample holder for multidetector neutron spectrometers. Phys B Condens Matter 266:112–114.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Olds D, Page K, Paecklar A et al (2017) A high precision gas flow cell for performing in situ neutron studies of local atomic structure in catalytic materials. Rev Sci Instrum 88:034101.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank Dr. Hiroyuki Asakura in Kyoto University for his kind help for the CO adsorption experiments. The authors also thank Dr. Toshiyuki Tanaka in Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. for his kind donation of the catalyst samples and Technical Division of Institute for Catalysis, Hokkaido University for development of the measurement cell at the initial stage of the present study. The XAFS measurements were performed at the BL01B1 of SPring-8 with the approval of the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) (Proposal Numbers: 2020A1081 and 2020A1219). The INS experiments were performed with the approval of Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) (Proposal Nos. 2019A0091, 2017E0003, 2017B0229, 2015E0004, 2015A0074, and 2013B0093). This work was supported by the Elements Strategy Initiative for Catalysts and Batteries (ESICB) of MEXT (Grant Number: JPMXP0112101003).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hisao Yoshida.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (PDF 210 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yoshida, H., Yamamoto, A., Hosokawa, S. et al. Observation of Adsorbed Hydrogen Species on Supported Metal Catalysts by Inelastic Neutron Scattering. Top Catal 64, 660–671 (2021).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: