Direct Visualization of Independent Ta Centers Supported on Two-Dimensional TiO2 Nanosheets

Zhenyu Bo, Nicholas E. Thornburg, Lingxuan Peng, Jose Julio Gutierrez Moreno, Michael Nolan, Laurence D. Marks, Justin M. Notestein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


Highly dispersed, supported oxides are ubiquitous solid catalysts but can be challenging to characterize with atomic precision. Here, it is shown that crystalline anatase TiO2 nanosheets (∼5 nm thick) are ideal supports for imaging highly dispersed active sites. Ta cations were deposited by several routes, and high-resolution high angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy was used to determine the location of Ta with respect to the TiO2 lattice and quantify Ta–Ta distances. In the best case, it is shown that >80% of Ta atoms are isolated from one another, whereas other techniques are blind to this critical catalytic property or give only qualitative estimates. TiO2 nanosheets may prove to be a useful platform for other types of catalysis studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8103-8108
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 29 Oct 2019


  • supported catalysts
  • oxides
  • microscopy
  • single atom catalysts


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