DFT analysis of the reaction paths of formaldehyde decomposition on silver.

Research paper by Alejandro A Montoya, Brian S BS Haynes

Indexed on: 10 Jul '09Published on: 10 Jul '09Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry A


Periodic density functional theory is used to study the dehydrogenation of formaldehyde (CH(2)O) on the Ag(111) surface and in the presence of adsorbed oxygen or hydroxyl species. Thermodynamic and kinetic parameters of elementary surface reactions have been determined. The dehydrogenation of CH(2)O on clean Ag(111) is thermodynamically and kinetically unfavorable. In particular, the activation energy for the first C-H bond scission of adsorbed CH(2)O (25.8 kcal mol(-1)) greatly exceeds the desorption energy for molecular CH(2)O (2.5 kcal mol(-1)). Surface oxygen promotes the destruction of CH(2)O through the formation of CH(2)O(2), which readily decomposes to CHO(2) and then in turn to CO(2) and adsorbed hydrogen. Analysis of site selectivity shows that CH(2)O(2), CHO(2), and CHO are strongly bound to the surface through the bridge sites, whereas CO and CO(2) are weakly adsorbed with no strong preference for a particular surface site. Dissociation of CO and CO(2) on the Ag(111) surface is highly activated and therefore unfavorable with respect to their molecular desorption.