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See detailFirst-Principles Study of Alkoxides Adsorbed on Au(111) and Au(110) Surfaces: Assessing the Roles of Noncovalent Interactions and Molecular Structures in Catalysis
Cheenicode Kabeer, Fairoja; Chen, Wei; Madix, Robert J. et al

in Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2017), 121

Microscopic understanding of molecular adsorption on catalytic surfaces is crucial for controlling the activity and selectivity of chemical reactions. However, for complex molecules, the adsorption ... [more ▼]

Microscopic understanding of molecular adsorption on catalytic surfaces is crucial for controlling the activity and selectivity of chemical reactions. However, for complex molecules, the adsorption process is very systemspecific and there is a clear need to elaborate systematic understanding of important factors that determine catalytic functionality. Here, we investigate the binding of eight molecules, including seven alkoxides and one carboxylate, on the Au(111) and Au(110) surfaces. Our density-functional theory calculations including long-range van der Waals interactions demonstrate the significant role of these “weak” noncovalent forces on the adsorption structures, energetics, and relative adsorbate stabilities. Interestingly, the binding energy trends are insensitive to the surface structure. Instead, the adsorption stability depends strongly on the structural and chemical characteristics of the molecules: linear vs branching configurations, number of unsaturated C−C bonds, bidentate adsorption, and the presence of electronegative atoms. Our calculations help establish the influence of individual and collective chemical factors that determine the catalytic selectivity of alkoxides. [less ▲]

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See detailNoncovalent Bonding Controls Selectivity in Heterogeneous Catalysis: Coupling Reactions on Gold
Karakalos, Stavros; Xu, Yunfei; Cheenicode Kabeer, Fairoja et al

in Journal of the American Chemical Society (2016), 138(46), 15243-15250

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See detailvan der Waals Interactions Determine Selectivity in Catalysis by Metallic Gold
Rodriguez-Reyes, Juan Carlos F.; Siler, Cassandra G. F.; Liu, Wei et al

in JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY (2014), 136(38), 13333-13340

To achieve high selectivity for catalytic reactions between two or more reactants on a heterogeneous catalyst, the relative concentrations of the reactive intermediates on the surface must be optimized ... [more ▼]

To achieve high selectivity for catalytic reactions between two or more reactants on a heterogeneous catalyst, the relative concentrations of the reactive intermediates on the surface must be optimized. If species compete for binding sites, their concentrations depend on their relative binding strengths to the surface. In this article we describe a general framework for predicting the relative stability of organic intermediates involved in oxygen-assisted reactions on metallic gold with broad relevance to catalysis by metals. Combining theory and experiment, we establish that van der Waals interactions between the reactive intermediates and the surface, although weak, determine relative stabilities and thereby dictate the conditions for optimum selectivity. The inclusion of these interactions is essential for predicting these trends. The concepts and methods employed here have broad applicability for determining the stability of intermediates on the surfaces of catalytic metals and specifically demonstrate the critical role of weak interactions in determining reaction selectivity among reactions of complex molecules. [less ▲]

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