Unraveling structural dynamics of noble metal nanoclusters on oxide supports is critical to understanding reaction process and origin of catalytic activity in heterogeneous catalysts. Here, we show that aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy can provide direct atomic-resolution imaging of surface migration, coalescence, and atomic rearrangement of Au clusters on an Y:ZrO2 (YSZ) support. The high resolution enables us to reveal migration and coalescence process of Au clusters at the atomic scale, and to demonstrate that the coalesced clusters undergo a cooperative atomic rearrangement, which transforms the coherent into incoherent Au/YSZ interface. This approach can help to elucidate atomistic mechanism of catalytic activities and to develop novel catalysts with enhanced functionality.
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