Chemical Bonding of Hydrocarbons to Metal Surfaces
Using x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), x-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) in combination with density functional theory (DFT) the changes in electronic and geometric structure of hydrocarbons upon adsorption are determined. The chemical bonding is analyzed and the results provide new insights in the mechanisms responsible for dehydrogenation in heterogeneous catalysis.In the case of alkanes, n-octane and methane are studied. XAS and XES show significant changes in the electronic structure upon adsorption. XES shows new adsorption induced occupied states and XAS shows quenching of CH*/Rydberg states in n-octane. In methane the symmetry forbidden gas phase lowest unoccupied molecular orbital becomes allowed due to broken symmetry. New adsorption induced unoccupied features with mainly metal character appear just above the Fermi level in XA spectra of both adsorbed methane and n-octane. These changes are not observed in DFT total energy geometry optimizations. Comparison between experimental and computed spectra for different adsorbate geometries reveals that the molecular structures are significantly changed in both molecules. The C-C bonds in n-octane are shortened upon adsorption and the C-H bonds are elongated in both n-octane and methane.In addition ethylene and acetylene are studied as model systems for unsaturated hydrocarbons. The validity of both the Dewar-Chatt-Duncanson chemisorption model and the alternative spin-uncoupling picture is confirmed, as well as C-C bond elongation and upward bending of the C-H bonds.The bonding of ethylene to Cu(110) and Ni(110) are compared and the results show that the main difference is the amount of back-donation into the molecular ?* orbital, which allows the molecule to desorb molecularly from the Cu(110) surface, whereas it is dehydrogenated upon heating on the Ni(110) surface. Acetylene is found to adsorb in two different adsorption sites on the Cu(110) surface at liquid nitrogen temperature. Upon heating the molecules move into one of these sites due to attractive adsorbate-adsorbate interaction and only one adsorbed species is present at room temperature, at which point the molecules start reacting to form benzene. The bonding of the two species is very similar in both sites and the carbon atoms are rehybridized essentially to sp2.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; Adsorption; hydrocarbon; core-level; spectroscopy
Date of Publication:01/01/2004