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Direct Visualization of Catalytically Active Sites at the FeO-Pt(111) Interface

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  • Wilhelmine Kudernatsch, Denmark
  • Guowen Peng, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • Helene Zeuthen, Denmark
  • Yunhai Bai, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • Richard Lindsay Merte, Denmark
  • Lutz Lammich
  • Flemming Besenbacher
  • Manos Mavrikakis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • Stefan Wendt
Within the area of surface science one of the “Holy Grails” is to directly visualize a chemical reaction at the atomic scale. Whereas this goal has been reached by high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) in a number of cases for reactions occurring at flat surfaces, such a direct view is often inhibited for reaction occurring at steps and interfaces. Here we have studied the CO oxidation reaction at the interface between ultrathin FeO islands and a Pt(111) support by in-situ STM and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Time-lapsed STM imaging on this inverse model catalyst in O2 and CO environments revealed catalytic activity occurring at the FeO–Pt(111) interface and directly showed that the Fe-edges host the catalytically most active sites for the CO oxidation reaction. This is an important result since previous evidence for the catalytic activity of the FeO–Pt(111) interface is essentially based on averaging techniques in conjunction with DFT calculations. The presented STM results are in accord with DFT+U calculations, in which we compare possible CO oxidation pathways on oxidized Fe-edges and O-edges. We found that the CO oxidation reaction is more favorable on the oxidized Fe-edges, both thermodynamically and kinetically.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nano
Pages (from-to)7804-7814
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • catalysis, active sites, CO oxidation, FeO islands, Pt, in-situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), density functional theory (DFT)

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