Acetylene trimerization on Ag, Pd and Rh atoms deposited on MgO thin films

Ken Judai, Anke S. Wörz, Stéphane Abbet, Jean Marie Antonietti, Ueli Heiz, Annalisa Del Vitto, Livia Giordano, Gianfranco Pacchioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The acetylene trimerization on the group VIII transition metal atoms, Rh and Pd, as well as on Ag atoms supported on MgO thin films has been studied experimentally and theoretically. The three metal atoms with the atomic configurations 4d85s1 (Rh), 4d10s0 (Pd) and 4d105s1 (Ag) behave distinctly differently. The coinage metal atom silver is basically inert for this reaction, whereas Pd is active at 220 and 320 K, and Rh produces benzene in a rather broad temperature range from 350 to ca. 430 K. The origins of these differences are not only the different electronic configurations, leading to a weak interaction of acetylene with silver due to strong Pauli repulsion with the 5s electron but also the different stability and dynamics of the three atoms on the MgO surface. In particular, Rh and Pd atoms interact differently with surface defects like the oxygen vacancies (F centers) and the step edges. Pd atoms migrate already at low temperature exclusively to F centers where the cyclotrimerization is efficiently promoted. The Rh atoms on the other hand are not only trapped on F centers but also at step edges up to about 300 K. Interestingly, only Rh atoms on F centers catalyze the trimerization reaction whereas they are turned inert on the step edges due to strong steric effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-962
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


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