Probing the intrinsic catalytic activity of carbon nanotubes for the metal-free oxidation of aromatic thiophene compounds in ionic liquids (Pages 131-137)
Nanocarbon-based catalysts represented an area of increasing interest in recent years. They have been proved to be efficient catalysts for enormous catalytic processes including thermal catalysis, photocatalysis and electrocatalysis. The unambiguous mechanistic understandings (e.g., active sites) and the relatively low activity are major obstacles for the development of carbocatalysis. In this paper, we focused on these two aspects. A detailed study of the reaction process with a temperature-programmed treatment of the oCNTs combined with a series of control experiments of chemical deactivation and model catalysts experiments reveals that carbonyl groups are the active sites of oCNTs for the dibenzothiophene (DBT) oxidation reaction. Besides, by introducing PF6- anion based ionic liquids (ILs), the catalytic activity of oCNTs for the oxidation of DBT effectively could be enhanced dramatically. As clarified by EPR and H2O2 self-decomposition experiments, the PF6- anion based ILs could protect HO·radicals from forming O2 and also in favor of forming carbon involved intermediates, thus could improve the catalytic performance of the nanocarbon/ILs combined catalytic system. This is the first time that the nanocarbon/ILs combined catalytic system is proposed and it is promising for different catalytic applications with the low-cost carbon materials as catalysts.