Imperial College London

Prof Milo Shaffer

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Professor of Materials Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594 5825m.shaffer Website




Mr John Murrell +44 (0)20 7594 2845




M221Royal College of ScienceSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Leung, AHM and García-Trenco, A and Phanopoulos, A and Regoutz, A and Schuster, ME and Pike, SD and Shaffer, MSP and Williams, CK},
doi = {10.1039/d0ta00509f},
journal = {Journal of Materials Chemistry A},
pages = {11282--11291},
title = {Cu/M:ZnO (M = Mg, Al, Cu) colloidal nanocatalysts for the solution hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol},
url = {},
volume = {8},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Doped-ZnO nanoparticles, capped with dioctylphosphinate ligands, are synthesised by the controlled hydrolysis of a mixture of organometallic precursors. Substitutional doping of the wurtzite ZnO nanoparticles with 5 mol% Mg(II), Al(III) and Cu(I) is achieved by the addition of sub-stoichiometric amounts of the appropriate dopant [(n-butyl)(sec-butyl)magnesium, triethylaluminium or mesitylcopper] to diethylzinc in the precursor mixture. After hydrolysis, the resulting colloidal nanoparticles (sizes of 2–3 nm) are characterised by powder X-ray crystallography, transmission electron microscopy, inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. A solution of the doped-ZnO nanoparticles and colloidal Cu(0) nanoparticles [M:ZnO : Cu = 1 : 1] are applied as catalysts for the hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol in a liquid-phase continuous flow stirred tank reactor [210 °C, 50 bar, CO2:H2 = 1:3, 150 mL min−1, mesitylene, 20 h]. All the catalyst systems display higher rates of methanol production and better stability than a benchmark heterogeneous catalyst, Cu–ZnO–Al2O3 [480 μmol mmolmetal−1 h−1], with approximately twice the activity for the Al(III)-doped nanocatalyst. Despite outperforming the benchmark catalyst, Mg(II) doping is detrimental towards methanol production in comparison to undoped ZnO. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy analysis of the most active post-catalysis samples implicate the migration of Al(III) to the catalyst surface, and this surface enrichment is proposed to facilitate stabilisation of the catalytic ZnO/Cu interfaces.
AU - Leung,AHM
AU - García-Trenco,A
AU - Phanopoulos,A
AU - Regoutz,A
AU - Schuster,ME
AU - Pike,SD
AU - Shaffer,MSP
AU - Williams,CK
DO - 10.1039/d0ta00509f
EP - 11291
PY - 2020///
SN - 2050-7488
SP - 11282
TI - Cu/M:ZnO (M = Mg, Al, Cu) colloidal nanocatalysts for the solution hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol
T2 - Journal of Materials Chemistry A
UR -
UR -!divAbstract
UR -
VL - 8
ER -