The effect of molecular vibrations and surface structure on the chemisorption of methane on platinum

In this thesis, I report state-resolved measurements of the chemisorption probability of CH4 on Pt(111) and Pt(110)-(1×2) for several rovibrationally excited states (2ν3, ν1+ν4, and 2ν2+ν4) in addition to the ground state. Measurements of the state resolved reactivity as function of the incident translational energy lead to state-resolved reactivity curves for each of the states under study. The relative efficacy of activating the dissociation reaction is obtained for each excited state by comparing the increase in reactivity observed upon excitation of a particular state to the effect of increasing the translational energy of CH4 in the ground state. The results provide clear evidence for mode specific reactivity with the highest efficacy for the stretch-bend combination (ν1+ν4), followed by the stretch overtone (2ν3) and the bend overtone state (2ν2+ν4). The results demonstrate that vibrational activation of CH4/Pt chemisorption process does not simply scale with the total internal energy of the incident CH4 molecule, which is a central assumption of the PC-MURT statistical model for dissociative chemisorption reactions developed by the group of Harrison [Ukraintsev et al., Chem. Phys., 1994. 101(2): p. 1564]. On the contrary, the qualitative predictions of the vibrationally adiabatic model proposed by Halonen et al. [J. Chem. Phys., 2001. 115(12): p. 5611] are in good agreement with our results. The higher efficacy of the ν1+ν4 state can also be rationalized by observing that, at the transition state, the breaking C-H bond is both stretched and bent from its equilibrium geometry, therefore I suggest that this state might have a significant projection on the reaction coordinate [Psofogiannakis et al., J. Phys. Chem. B, 2006. 110 : p. 24593 ; Anghel et al., Phys. Rev. B, 2005. 71 : p. 4]. Comparison between the state-resolved reactivity for CH4(2ν3) on Pt(111) and Ni(111) is used to obtain information about differences in barrier height and transition state location for the dissociation on the two different metals [Bisson et al., J. Phys. Chem., 2007. 111: p. 12679]. Finally, for the more corrugated Pt(110)-(1×2) surface, I determined the state-resolved sticking coefficients for different polar and azimuthal angles of incidence. Comparison between the reaction probability for incidence parallel and perpendicular to the missing rows of this surface shows shadowing effects that are consistent with predominant reactivity of the top layer Pt atoms.

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