Two routes of preparation of mesoporous Ni-alumina materials favoring the intermediate formation of nanostructured nickel-aluminate are presented. The first one involves an aluminum containing MOF precursor used as sacrificial template to deposit nickel while the second is based on a one-pot synthesis combined to an EISA method. As shown by a set of complementary techniques, the nickel-aluminate nanospecies formed after calcination are homogeneously distributed within the developed mesoporous alumina matrices whose porous characteristics vary depending on the preparation method. A special attention is paid to electron-microscopy observations using especially STEM imaging with high chemical sensitivity and EDS elemental mapping modes that help visualizing the extremely high nickel dispersion and highlight the strong metal anchoring to the support that persists after reduction. This leads to active nickel nanoparticles particularly stable in the reaction of dry reforming of methane.
Keywords: HAADF; MOF; dry reforming of methane (DRM); heterogenous catalysis; mesoporous alumina; nickel aluminate.