Variation in the Structure and Activity of Commercial Palladium on Carbon Catalysts
Palladium catalysed hydrogenolysis is often the final step in challenging natural product total synthesis and a key step in industrial processes towards fine chemicals. Here we demonstrate that there is wide variability in quality of commercial sources of palladium on carbon (Pd/C), which results in differences in selectivity, reaction times, and yields. This is established through a combination of XRD, XPS, BET and TEM analysis, this will serve as a template for others to quickly identify a high-quality source of Pd/C catalyst — meaning less time spent on time consuming reaction optimisation studies. Key indicators of a high-quality catalyst include: small particle sizes, large surface area, and the presence of both Pd0 and Pd2+ active species (not present in all commercial sources). Further this work will enable the design and synthesis of new high-quality Pd/C catalysts.