Physisorption of CO and N2O on ceria surfaces

by Müller, Carsten

Abstract (Summary)

Physisorption of CO and N2O on surfaces of ceria (CeO2) was investigated by means of high-level quantum-mechanical embedded cluster calculations. Both systems have high relevance in the field of environmental chemistry and heterogeneous catalysis. The CO/CeO2 system, has been investigated in a couple of both experimental and theoretical studies, but for the N2O/CeO2 system, this is the first study in the literature, experimental or theoretical.

In physisorption, the interaction relies entirely on classical electrostatic interactions and electron dispersion forces. No covalent bond is formed between the molecule and the surface. A proper description of the dispersion requires some of the most accurate quantum-mechanical methods available, such as MP2 or CCSD(T). Moreover, even the most sophisticated methods cannot heal errors anywhere else in the theoretical treatment. Standard periodic models cannot be used with methods such as CCSD(T), but embedded cluster models can, and have been thoroughly explored in this thesis.

In this thesis, embedded cluster models were constructed for the CeO2(110) and (111) surfaces. Using a range of assessment tests, it was verified that the electronic structure of the central region of a large and fully embedded surface cluster agrees well with the corresponding region in a periodic system. CO physisorption was investigated at the CCSD(T) level. Due to the prohibitively large expenses (in computer time) for standard CCSD(T) calculations, the method of increments, previously used in the literature for bulk systems, was extended to adsorption problems. It was found that, electron correlation contributes by 30 - 80% to the molecule-surface interaction and that the contribution depends on the topology of the surface. The calculated CO-ceria interaction energy is 20 kJ/mol for the (111) surface and 27 kJ/mol for the (110) surface.

In low temperature TPD experiments for the N2O/CeO2(111) system, one surface species was found with an adsorption energy of about 29 kJ/mol. IR measurements showed stretching frequencies that are typically assigned to N2O adsorption with the O-end directed towards surface cations. However, theoretical calculations up to the MP2 level predicted two equally favorable adsorption species. Improvements in the structural model (larger clusters, consideration of molecule-induced relaxation) or the computational method (larger basis sets) did not affect this result. Only at the CCSD(T) level was one dominating surface species found, namely N2O adsorbed over a Ce ion, with the O-end of the molecule directed towards the surface. The calculated stretching vibrational frequency shifts (with respect to the gas phase) for this adsorbed species agree well with the measured IR spectra.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Theoretical chemistry; Quantum chemistry; ceria; carbon monoxide; nitrous oxide; embedded cluster; physisorption; method of increments; CCSD(T); vibrational frequencies; kvantkemi; Quantum Chemistry


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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