The interactions of CO with a high specific surface area tin dioxide was investigated by FTIR spectroscopy and thermogravimetric
analysis. FTIR study of CO interactions have shown that CO can adsorb on cus (coordinatively unsaturated sites) Sn4+ cation sites (band at 2201 cm-1). In addition, CO reacts with surface oxygen atoms. This leads to the partial reduction of SnO2 surface and to the formation of ionised oxygen vacancies together with the release of free electrons, which are responsible
for the loss of transmission. Formed CO2 can chemisorb on specific surface sites: on basic sites to form carbonates species and on acidic sites (Sn4+-CO2 species) which is in competition with the formation of Sn4+-CO species. TG experiment have shown that the reduction of SnO2 by CO at 400°C occurs in two steps. First, the reduction of SnO2 surface, which is a quick phenomenon. This has allowed to evaluate that more than 12% of reducible surface oxygens can react
with CO, essentially because of the presence of a large amount of surface hydroxyl groups. The second step of the reduction
of SnO2 would be the progressive reduction of SnO2 bulk by the slow diffusion of oxygen atoms from the bulk to the surface.