Universiteit Leiden

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Surface-structure dependence of water-related adsorbates on platinum

Promotor: M.T.M. Koper, Co-promotor: J.B.F. Juurlink

C. Badan
22 november 2016
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Today, the energy sector is highly dependent on heterogeneous catalysis because a future solution to end our dependency on natural sources lies in generating hydrogen by splitting water. Several transition metals, such as Pt, are known to be good catalyst materials for water splitting reactions. They play a key role in understanding the fundamental aspects of the elementary interactions occurring on the surfaces of catalysts. These surfaces, however, are generally very complex and contain a wide distribution of structurally and chemically different sites with different activities. One of the key issues in optimizing the activity of the catalysts is to distinguish and specify the active sites on the surface. In this thesis we use highly corrugated Pt surfaces and UHV techniques (TPD, LEED, and STM) to explore the effects of surface defects on adsorption and desorption of water and related adsorbates. We elucidate to what extent the substrate type influences the structure of interfacial water both in the monolayer and thin film regime. Our studies also show that step geometry is the determining factor in low temperature oxygen dissociation.