A novel mild method for the preparation of gold supported on activated carbons was achieved through direct reduction of Au3+ ions onto the surface of two different types of activated carbons, namely a non-functionalized commercial type and a chemically modified activated carbon. The chemically modified activated carbon was obtained by gas phase oxidation of the latter, in order to introduce surface oxygen groups. Geometrical and amorphous gold and gold clusters were formed at the surface of the two types of carbon supports, through a straightforward redox reaction under mild conditions. We demonstrated the catalytic performance of gold supported on activated carbon in the oxidation of glycerol, which presented high activity and selectivity towards the formation of glyceric acid.
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