Interplay between CO Disproportionation and Oxidation: On the Origin of the CO Reaction Onset on Atomic Layer Deposition-Grown Pt/ZrO2 Model Catalysts

Verena Pramhaas, Matteo Roiaz, Noemi Bosio, Manuel Corva, Christoph Rameshan, Erik Vesselli, Henrik Grönbeck, Günther Rupprechter

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Pt/ZrO2 model catalysts were prepared by atomic layer deposition (ALD) and examined at mbar pressure by operando sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy and near-ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NAP-XPS) combined with differentially pumped mass spectrometry (MS). ALD enables creating model systems ranging from Pt nanoparticles to bulk-like thin films. Polarization-dependent SFG of CO adsorption reveals both the adsorption configuration and the Pt particle morphology. By combining experimental data with ab initio density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we show that the CO reaction onset is determined by a delicate balance between CO disproportionation (Boudouard reaction) and oxidation. CO disproportionation occurs on low-coordinated Pt sites, but only at high CO coverages and when the remaining C atom is stabilized by a favorable coordination. Thus, under the current conditions, initial CO oxidation is found to be strongly influenced by the removal of carbon deposits formed through disproportionation mechanisms rather than being determined by the CO and oxygen inherent activity. Accordingly, at variance with the general expectation, rough Pt nanoparticles are seemingly less active than smoother Pt films. The applied approach enables bridging both the "materials and pressure gaps".
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number1
Early online date17 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • catalysis
  • DFT
  • in situ spectroscopy
  • operando
  • Pt nanoparticles
  • SFG

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