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Title: Absolute Molecular Orientation of Isopropanol at Ceria (100) Surfaces: Insight into Catalytic Selectivity from the Interfacial Structure

The initial mechanistic steps underlying heterogeneous chemical catalysis can be described in a framework where the composition, structure, and orientation of molecules adsorbed to reactive interfaces are known. However, extracting this vital information is the limiting step in most cases due in part to challenges in probing the interfacial monolayer with enough chemical specificity to characterize the surface molecular constituents. These challenges are exacerbated at complex or spatially heterogeneous interfaces where competing processes and a distribution of local environments can uniquely drive chemistry. To address these limitations, this work presents a distinctive combination of materials synthesis, surface specific optical experiments, and theory to probe and understand molecular structure at catalytic interfaces. Specifically, isopropanol was adsorbed to surfaces of the model CeO 2 catalyst that were synthesized with only the (100) facet exposed. Vibrational sum-frequency generation was used to probe the molecular monolayer, and with the guidance of density functional theory calculations, was used to extract the structure and absolute molecular orientation of isopropanol at the CeO 2 (100) surface. Our results show that isopropanol is readily deprotonated at the surface, and through the measured absolute molecular orientation of isopropanol, we obtain new insight into the selectivity of the (100) surfacemore » to form propylene. Our findings reveal key insight into the chemical and physical phenomena taking place at pristine interfaces thereby pointing to intuitive structural arguments to describe catalytic selectivity in more complex systems.« less
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Indian Inst. of Technology (IIT), Rajasthan (India)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Chemistry. C
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 121; Journal Issue: 26; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-7447
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1400213