5 years ago

Absolute Molecular Orientation of Isopropanol at Ceria (100) Surfaces: Insight into Catalytic Selectivity from the Interfacial Structure

Absolute Molecular Orientation of Isopropanol at Ceria (100) Surfaces: Insight into Catalytic Selectivity from the Interfacial Structure
Sriram Goverapet Srinivasan, Benjamin Doughty, Vyacheslav S. Bryantsev, Daniel A. Lutterman, Dongkyu Lee, Ying-Zhong Ma, Ho Nyung Lee
The initial mechanistic steps underlying heterogeneous chemical catalysis can be described in a framework where the composition, structure, and orientation of molecules adsorbed to reactive interfaces are known. However, extracting this vital information is the limiting step in most cases due in part to challenges in probing the interfacial monolayer with enough chemical specificity to characterize the surface molecular constituents. These challenges are exacerbated at complex or spatially heterogeneous interfaces where competing processes and a distribution of local environments can uniquely drive chemistry. To address these limitations, this work presents a distinctive combination of materials synthesis, surface-specific optical experiments, and theory to probe and understand molecular structure at catalytic interfaces. Specifically, isopropanol was adsorbed to surfaces of the model CeO2 catalyst that were synthesized with only the (100) facet exposed. Vibrational sum-frequency generation was used to probe the molecular monolayer and, with the guidance of density functional theory calculations, was used to extract the structure and absolute molecular orientation of isopropanol at the CeO2(100) surface. Our results show that isopropanol is readily deprotonated at the surface, and through the measured absolute molecular orientation of isopropanol, we obtain new insight into the selectivity of the (100) surface to form propylene. Our findings reveal key insight into the chemical and physical phenomena taking place at pristine interfaces, thereby pointing to intuitive structural arguments to describe catalytic selectivity in more complex systems.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b03272

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b03272

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