Carbothermal hydrogen reduction (CHR) is a unique dry chemical process used to fabricate metals and carbides on carbon supports. In this study, a stepwise CHR of WCl6 on a graphite support is demonstrated for the first time. Powder X-ray diffraction studies revealed that, at 773 K, metallic tungsten nanoparticles are produced, whereas, at 1073 K, the metastable W2C phase is generated rather than the thermodynamically stable WC phase. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray absorption near edge structure studies showed that the chemical state of the W nanoparticles simultaneously exhibits metallic W(~0) and carbide W(δ+) character. The obtained results suggest that, although electronic interactions exist between the metallic W atoms and the graphite support, the body-centered cubic structure of the metallic tungsten is maintained, confirmed by the extended X-ray absorption fine structure. In addition, high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy observations revealed that the W nanoparticles exhibit a thin flattened shape on the support. These results support the notion that the mechanism for the formation of the W nanoparticles during the CHR is influenced by the electronic interactions between the W nanoparticles and the graphite support. Our work thus suggests that the combination of early-transition-metal atoms and carbon-based supports would afford modulatable electronic systems though the electronic interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry