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Studies of Overlayer Vibrational Structure and Identification of Adsorbed Reaction Intermediates Via Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy


Anton, Alan Brad (1986) Studies of Overlayer Vibrational Structure and Identification of Adsorbed Reaction Intermediates Via Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/6yr9-e416.


Electron energy loss vibrational spectroscopy (EELS) and thermal desorption mass spectrometry (TDMS) have been used to investigate the chemisorption of several molecules on the hexagonally close-packed Ru(001) surface. The adsorption of N2, O2, and N2 with O2 and CO was investigated to characterize the chemical state of adsorbed molecules, including their interactions with the substrate and with their adsorbed neighbors, through effects manifest in their vibrational spectra. The adsorption of (Ch3)2CO and H2CO and their subsequent thermal decomposition was investigated to identify the structures of reactive and non- reactive adsorbed intermediates, to identify the products of surface reactions and their structures, to identify surface reaction mechanisms, and to correlate reactivity with the structure of adsorbed intermediates.

N2 binds to the Ru(001) surface at on-top sites with its molecular axis perpendicular to the surface. In contrast to results reported for the isoelectronic molecule CO on the same surface, however, ν(NN) decreases with increasing surface coverage, a result which is explained in terms of increasing population of the 1πg antibonding orbital of N2 with increasing surface coverage.

The vibrational spectra of ordered p(2x2) and p(1x2) overlayers of oxygen adatoms on Ru(001) were studied via comparison of experimental EEL spectra to vibrational spectra calculated with a Green's function lattice dynamical technique. The results identify features due to coupling of the overlayers to substrate phonons and illustrate a unique effect of adsorption site symmetry which distinguishes the vibrational spectra of the two overlayers.

EELS and TDMS results used in conjunction to determine the effects of interactions between contrasting adsorbates in mixed adlayers of N2 with oxygen and N2 with CO on Ru(001). Preadsorbed oxygen produces a strong chemical effect on subsequently adsorbed N2, stabilizing σ-donation while destabilizing 1πg-backdonation in the N2-surface bond. Preadsorbed N2 increases the ability of the Ru surface atoms to backdonate electron density into the 2π orbital of subsequently adsorbed CO, producing values of ν(CO) which are lower than are observed under any circumstances for the adsorption of CO on the clean Ru(001) surface.

Adsorption of (Ch3)2CO on the clean Ru(001) surface produces η2-bonded molecular acetone which decomposes to CO, carbon and hydrogen upon heating the surface. If the surface is instead precovered with a p(2x2) oxygen overlayer, a significant fraction of the subsequently adsorbed acetone exists in an η1-bonded configuration which, like η1 acetone observed on the clean Pt(111) surface, desorbs molecularly upon heating. These results demonstrate in a quantifiable way how the reactivity of the Ru(001) surface can be modified by the presence of a coadsorbed species, and that the change in reactivity can be correlated with the selectivity of the surface toward reactive (η2) and nonreactive (η1) intermediate bonding configurations.

Adsorption of the chemically similar molecule H2CO on Ru(001) produces many effects analogous to those observed for (Ch3)2CO adsorption: η2 bonding is observed on the clean surface and η1 bonding is observed when the surface is precovered with a p(2x2) oxygen overlayer. The H2CO is more reactive than (Ch3)2CO, however, decomposing at low coverages and low temperature on the clean surface to give hydrogen and CO before any molecular adsorption is observed. At coverages intermediate between total decomposition and near monolayer saturation, where the η2-H2CO species is observed, partial decomposition to yield an η2-HCO species is observed. The results have important implications for the mechanistic understanding of CO hydrogenation reactions catalyzed under heterogeneous conditions.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Weinberg, William Henry
Thesis Committee:
  • Weinberg, William Henry (chair)
  • Bailey, James E.
  • Bercaw, John E.
  • Beauchamp, Jesse L.
Defense Date:12 July 1985
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04032008-110807
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Chapter II. adapted for Chapter III. adapted for Chapter V. adapted for Chapter VI. adapted for Chapter VIII. adapted for Appendix 1. adapted for Appendix 2. adapted for Appendix 3.
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1257
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:08 Apr 2008
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 23:00

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