Alumina and its mixed oxides are popular industrial supports for emerging supported metal catalysts. Pentacoordinated Al (AlV) species are identified as key surface sites for anchoring and stabilizing metal single-site catalysts; however, AlV is rare in conventional amorphous silica–alumina (ASA). Recently, we have developed AlV-enriched ASA, which was applied as a support for the synthesis of Pt single-site catalysts in this work. Each preparation stage and the interaction between Pt and surface Al species were explored by 1H and 27Al solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the formation of the dominant Pt single sites on the surface of AlV-enriched ASA was confirmed by high-angle annular dark-field imaging scanning transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy line scanning. On the surface of supports without a significant AlV population (Pt/Al2O3 and Pt/SiO2), mainly Pt nanoparticles were formed. This indicates that AlV contributes to the strong metal–support interaction to stabilize the Pt single sites on Pt/ASA, which was characterized by diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy combined with CO adsorption, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and electron energy loss spectroscopy. Pt single sites supported on AlV-enriched ASA exhibit excellent chemoselectivity in the hydrogenation of C═O groups, affording 2–3-fold higher yields compared to those of Pt nanoparticles supported on Al2O3 and SiO2.
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