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Title: Structure-Reactivity Relationships in Multi-Component Transition Metal Oxide Catalysts FINAL Report

The focus of the project was on developing an atomic-level understanding of how transition metal oxide catalysts function. Over the course of several renewals the specific emphases shifted from understanding how local structure and oxidation state affect how molecules adsorb and react on the surfaces of binary oxide crystals to more complex systems where interactions between different transition metal oxide cations in an oxide catalyst can affect reactivity, and finally to the impact of cluster size on oxide stability and reactivity. Hallmarks of the work were the use of epitaxial growth methods to create surfaces relevant to catalysis yet tractable for fundamental surface science approaches, and the use of scanning tunneling microscopy to follow structural changes induced by reactions and to pinpoint adsorption sites. Key early findings included the identification of oxidation and reduction mechanisms on a tungsten oxide catalyst surface that determine the sites available for reaction, identification of C-O bond cleavage as the rate limiting step in alcohol dehydration reactions on the tungsten oxide surface, and demonstration that reduction does not change the favored reaction pathway but rather eases C-O bond cleavage and thus reduces the reaction barrier. Subsequently, a new reconstruction on the anatase phase of TiO2more » relevant to catalysis was discovered and shown to create sites with distinct reactivity compared to other TiO2 surfaces. Building on this work on anatase, the mechanism by which TiO2 enhances the reactivity of vanadium oxide layers was characterized and it was found that the TiO2 substrate can force thin vanadia layers to adopt structures they would not ordinarily form in the bulk which in turn creates differences in reactivity between supported layers and bulk samples. From there, the work progressed to studying well-defined ternary oxides where synergistic effects between the two cations can induce catalytic properties not seen for the individual binary oxides and to the structure and properties of transition metal oxide clusters. For the latter, surprising results were found including the observation that small clusters can actually be orders of magnitude more difficult than bulk materials to oxidize and that even weak substrate interactions can dictate the structure and reactivity of the oxide clusters. It was shown that these results could be explained in terms of simple thermodynamic arguments that extend to materials beyond the Co oxide system studied.« less
  1. Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States