The catalytic role of water in CO oxidation

X.Q. Gong, Peijun Hu, R. Raval

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100 Citations (Scopus)


Water, one of the most popular species in our planet, can play a catalytic role in many reactions, including reactions in heterogeneous catalysis. In a recent experimental work, Bergeld, Kasemo, and Chakarov demonstrated that water is able to promote CO oxidation under low temperatures (similar to200 K). In this study, we choose CO oxidation on Pt(111) in the presence of water as a model system to address the catalytic role of water for surface reactions in general using density functional theory. Many elementary steps possibly involved in the CO oxidation on Pt(111) at low temperatures have been investigated. We find the following. First, in the presence of water, the CO oxidation barrier is reduced to 0.33 eV (without water the barrier is 0.80 eV). This barrier reduction is mainly due to the H-bonding between the H in the H2O and the O at the transition state (TS), which stabilizes the TS. Second, CO can readily react with OH with a barrier of 0.44 eV, while COOH dissociation to produce CO2 is not easy (the barrier is 1.02 eV). Third, in the H2O+OH mixed phase, CO can be easily converted into CO2. It occurs through two steps: CO reacts with OH, forming COOH; and COOH transfers the H to a nearby H2O and, at the same time, an H in the H2O transfers to a OH, leading to CO2 formation. The reaction barrier of this process is 0.60 eV under CO coverage of 1/6 ML and 0.33 eV under CO coverage of 1/3 ML. The mechanism of CO oxidation at low temperatures is discussed. On the basis of our calculations, we propose that the water promotion effect can in general be divided into two classes: (i) By H-bonding between the H of H2O and an electron negative species such as the O in the reaction of CO+O+H2O-->CO2+H2O, H2O can stabilize the TS of the reaction and hence reduce the barrier. (ii) H2O first dissociates into H and OH and then OH or H participates directly in the reaction to induce new reaction mechanism with more favorable routes, in which OH or H can act as an intermediate. (C) 2003 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6324-6334
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume119 (12)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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