A Caltech Library Service

Kinetic investigations of heterogeneously catalyzed reactions on the Ru(001) and Pt(110)-(1x2) surfaces


Sun, Yongkui (1990) Kinetic investigations of heterogeneously catalyzed reactions on the Ru(001) and Pt(110)-(1x2) surfaces. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/s955-n828.


The initial probabilities of activated, dissociative chemisorption of methane and ethane on Pt(110)-(1 x 2) have been measured. The surface temperature was varied from 450 to 900 K with the reactant gas temperature constant at 300 K. Under these conditions, we probe the kinetics of dissociation via trapping-mediated (as opposed to 'direct') mechanism. It was found that the probabilities of dissociation of both methane and ethane were strong functions of the surface temperature with an apparent activation energies of 14.4 kcal/mol for methane and 2.8 kcal/mol for ethane, which implys that the methane and ethane molecules have fully accommodated to the surface temperature. Kinetic isotope effects were observed for both reactions, indicating that the C-H bond cleavage was involved in the rate-limiting step. A mechanistic model based on the trapping-mediated mechanism is used to explain the observed kinetic behavior. The activation energies for C-H bond dissociation of the thermally accommodated methane and ethane on the surface extracted from the model are 18.4 and 10.3 kcal/mol, respectively.

The studies of the catalytic decomposition of formic acid on the Ru(001) surface with thermal desorption mass spectrometry following the adsorption of DCOOH and HCOOH on the surface at 130 and 310 K are described. Formic acid (DCOOH) chemisorbs dissociatively on the surface via both the cleavage of its O-H bond to form a formate and a hydrogen adatom, and the cleavage of its C-O bond to form a carbon monoxide, a deuterium adatom and an hydroxyl (OH). The former is the predominant reaction. The rate of desorption of carbon dioxide is a direct measure of the kinetics of decomposition of the surface formate. It is characterized by a kinetic isotope effect, an increasingly narrow FWHM, and an upward shift in peak temperature with Ɵ_T, the coverage of the dissociatively adsorbed formic acid. The FWHM and the peak temperature change from 18 K and 326 K at Ɵ_T = 0.04 to 8 K and 395 K at Ɵ_T = 0.89. The increase in the apparent activation energy of the C-D bond cleavage is largely a result of self-poisoning by the formate, the presence of which on the surface alters the electronic properties of the surface such that the activation energy of the decomposition of formate is increased. The variation of the activation energy for carbon dioxide formation with Ɵ_T accounts for the observed sharp carbon dioxide peak. The coverage of surface formate can be adjusted over a relatively wide range so that the activation energy for C-D bond cleavage in the case of DCOOH can be adjusted to be below, approximately equal to, or well above the activation energy for the recombinative desorption of the deuterium adatoms. Accordingly, the desorption of deuterium was observed to be governed completely by the desorption kinetics of the deuterium adatoms at low Ɵ_T, jointly by the kinetics of deuterium desorption and C-D bond cleavage at intermediate Ɵ_T, and solely by the kinetics of C-D bond cleavage at high Ɵ_T. The overall branching ratio of the formate to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide is approximately unity, regardless the initial coverage Ɵ_T, even though the activation energy for the production of carbon dioxide varies with Ɵ_T. The desorption of water, which implies C-O bond cleavage of the formate, appears at approximately the same temperature as that of carbon dioxide. These observations suggest that the cleavage of the C-D bond and that of the C-O bond of two surface formates are coupled, possibly via the formation of a short-lived surface complex that is the precursor to to the decomposition.

The measurement of steady-state rate is demonstrated here to be valuable in determining kinetics associated with short-lived, molecularly adsorbed precursor to further reactions on the surface, by determining the kinetic parameters of the molecular precursor of formaldehyde to its dissociation on the Pt(110)-(1 x 2) surface.

Overlayers of nitrogen adatoms on Ru(001) have been characterized both by thermal desorption mass spectrometry and low-energy electron diffraction, as well as chemically via the postadsorption and desorption of ammonia and carbon monoxide.

The nitrogen-adatom overlayer was prepared by decomposing ammonia thermally on the surface at a pressure of 2.8 x 10^(-6) Torr and a temperature of 480 K. The saturated overlayer prepared under these conditions has associated with it a (√247/10 x √247/10)R22.7° LEED pattern, has two peaks in its thermal desorption spectrum, and has a fractional surface coverage of 0.40. Annealing the overlayer to approximately 535 K results in a rather sharp (√3 x √3)R30° LEED pattern with an associated fractional surface coverage of one-third. Annealing the overlayer further to 620 K results in the disappearance of the low-temperature thermal desorption peak and the appearance of a rather fuzzy p(2x2) LEED pattern with an associated fractional surface coverage of approximately one-fourth. In the low coverage limit, the presence of the (√3 x √3)R30° N overlayer alters the surface in such a way that the binding energy of ammonia is increased by 20% relative to the clean surface, whereas that of carbon monoxide is reduced by 15%.

A general methodology for the indirect relative determination of the absolute fractional surface coverages has been developed and was utilized to determine the saturation fractional coverage of hydrogen on Ru(001). Formaldehyde was employed as a bridge to lead us from the known reference point of the saturation fractional coverage of carbon monoxide to unknown reference point of the fractional coverage of hydrogen on Ru(001), which is then used to determine accurately the saturation fractional coverage of hydrogen. We find that ƟSAT/H = 1.02 (±0.05), i.e., the surface stoichiometry is Ru : H = 1 : 1. The relative nature of the method, which cancels systematic errors, together with the utilization of a glass envelope around the mass spectrometer, which reduces spurious contributions in the thermal desorption spectra, results in high accuracy in the determination of absolute fractional coverages.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Weinberg, William Henry
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:20 September 1989
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07292014-090847834
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8618
Deposited On:29 Jul 2014 18:20
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page