The synthesis and analysis of inorganic material combinatorial libraries by the split-pool bead method were demonstrated at the proof-of-concept level. Millimeter-size spherical beads of porous γ-alumina, a commonly used support material for heterogeneous catalysts, were modified with Al13O4(OH)24(H2O)12 7+ cations in order to promote irreversible adsorption of the anionic fluorescent dyes Cascade Blue, Lucifer Yellow, and Sulforhodamine 101. The compositions of individual beads were easily determined through three split-pool cycles using a conventional fluorescence plate reader. Small split-pool material libraries were made by adsorbing noble metal salts (H2PtCl6, H2IrCl6, and RhCl3) into the beads. Analysis of these beads by micro-X-ray fluorescence showed that quantitative adsorption of metal salts without cross-contamination of beads could be achieved at levels (0.3 wt % metal loading) relevant to heterogeneous catalysis. The method offers the potential for synthesis of rather large libraries of inorganic materials through relatively simple benchtop split-pool chemistry.
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