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Issue 36, 2016
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Interplay between the spin-selection rule and frontier orbital theory in O2 activation and CO oxidation by single-atom-sized catalysts on TiO2(110)

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Abstract

Exploration of the catalytic activity of low-dimensional transition metal (TM) or noble metal catalysts is a vital subject of modern materials science because of their instrumental role in numerous industrial applications. Recent experimental advances have demonstrated the utilization of single atoms on different substrates as effective catalysts, which exhibit amazing catalytic properties such as more efficient catalytic performance and higher selectivity in chemical reactions as compared to their nanostructured counterparts; however, the underlying microscopic mechanisms operative in these single atom catalysts still remain elusive. Based on first-principles calculations, herein, we present a comparative study of the key kinetic rate processes involved in CO oxidation using a monomer or dimer of two representative TMs (Pd and Ni) on defective TiO2(110) substrates (TMn@TiO2(110), n = 1, 2) to elucidate the underlying mechanism of single-atom catalysis. We reveal that the O2 activation rates of the single atom TM catalysts deposited on TiO2(110) are governed cooperatively by the classic spin-selection rule and the well-known frontier orbital theory (or generalized d-band picture) that emphasizes the energy gap between the frontier orbitals of the TM catalysts and O2 molecule. We further illuminate that the subsequent CO oxidation reactions proceed via the Langmuir–Hinshelwood mechanism with contrasting reaction barriers for the Pd monomer and dimer catalysts. These findings not only provide an explanation for existing observations of distinctly different catalytic activities of Pd@TiO2(110) and Pd2@TiO2(110) [Kaden et al., Science, 2009, 326, 826–829] but also shed new insights into future utilization and optimization of single-atom catalysis.

Graphical abstract: Interplay between the spin-selection rule and frontier orbital theory in O2 activation and CO oxidation by single-atom-sized catalysts on TiO2(110)

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 May 2016, accepted on 05 Aug 2016 and first published on 09 Aug 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6CP03168D
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016,18, 24872-24879
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    Interplay between the spin-selection rule and frontier orbital theory in O2 activation and CO oxidation by single-atom-sized catalysts on TiO2(110)

    S. Li, X. Zhao, J. Shi, Y. Jia, Z. Guo, J. Cho, Y. Gao and Z. Zhang, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016, 18, 24872
    DOI: 10.1039/C6CP03168D

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