Density functional theory in surface science and heterogeneous catalysis

Jens Kehlet Nørskov, M. Scheffler, H. Toulhoat

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Solid surfaces are used extensively as catalysts throughout the chemical industry, in the energy sector, and in environmental protection. Recently, density functional theory has started providing new insight into the atomic-scale mechanisms of heterogeneous catalysis, helping to interpret the large amount of experimental data gathered during the last decades. This article shows how density functional theory can be used to describe the state of the surface during reactions and the rate of catalytic reactions. It will also show how we are beginning to understand the variation in catalytic activity from one transition metal to the next. Finally, the prospects of using calculations to guide the development of new catalysts in industry will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)669-674
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • catalytic
  • surface reaction
  • simulation

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