Importance of the Metal–Oxide Interface in Catalysis: In Situ Studies of the Water–Gas Shift Reaction by Ambient-Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy


  • Research carried at BNL was financed by the US DOE, Office of BES (Grant No. DE-AC02-98CH10086). Some of the calculations were performed at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at BNL. The main theoretical part was carried out by the group of J.F.S. and funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain, grants MAT2012-31526 and CSD2008-0023). Computational resources were provided by the Barcelona Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (Spain). J.E. thanks INTEVEP and IDB for grants used for the research in Venezuela.


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Where oxide and metals meet: The activation of an efficient associative mechanistic pathway for the water–gas shift reaction by an oxide–metal interface leads to an increase in the catalytic activity of nanoparticles of ceria deposited on Cu(111) or Au(111) by more than an order of magnitude (see graph). In situ experiments demonstrated that a carboxy species formed at the metal–oxide interface is the critical intermediate in the reaction.