Surface Chemistry of Catalytically Active Surfaces
Our research focuses on understanding the fundamental chemistry of catalytic metal surfaces. An overview of our work is provided here, and please see our publications for more technical descriptions of our work. Because heterogeneously catalyzed reactions on metal surfaces are intrinsically atomic-scale phenomena, it is of primary importance to determine the fundamental mechanisms in known catalytic systems. We aim to capture the essential details of what makes these reactions effective in order to learn how to export those chemical features into new systems. Towards this goal, we study paradigmatic systems in detail to elucidate how subtle changes in structure alters the chemistry of the surfaces. We investigate how defects influence bonding at surfaces by studying stepped surfaces and how oxygen atoms dissolved in the topmost portion of the solid (selvedge) alter the geometric and electronic structure of the surface and its chemical and physical characteristics. The addition of O to small molecules is a central reaction in heterogeneous catalysis, and is a motivation for our work with O in/on metal surfaces.
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