Formic Acid Dissociative Adsorption on NiO(111): Energetics and Structure of Adsorbed Formate

Wei Zhao, Andrew D. Doyle, Sawyer E. Morgan, Michal Bajdich, Jens K. Nørskov, Charles T. Campbell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The dissociative adsorption of carboxylic acids on oxide surfaces is important for understanding adsorbed carboxylates, which are important as intermediates in catalytic reactions, for the organo-functionalization of oxide surfaces, and in many other aspects of oxide surface chemistry. We present here the first direct experimental measurement of the heat of dissociative adsorption of any carboxylic acid on any single-crystal oxide surface. The enthalpy of the dissociative adsorption of formic acid, the simplest carboxylic acid, to produce adsorbed formate and hydrogen (as a surface hydroxyl) on a (2 × 2)-NiO(111) surface is measured by single crystal adsorption calorimetry. The differential heat of adsorption decreases with formic acid coverage from 202 to 99 kJ/mol at saturation (0.25 ML). The structure of the adsorbed products is clarified by density functional theory (DFT) calculations, which provide energies in reasonable agreement with the calorimetry. These calculations show that formic acid readily dissociates on both the oxygen and Ni terminations of the octapolar NiO(111) surfaces, donating its acid H to a surface lattice oxygen, while HCOO adsorbs preferentially with bridging-type geometry near the M-O3/O-M3 sites. The calculated energetics at low coverages agrees well with experimental data, while larger differences are observed at high coverage (0.25 ML). The large decrease in experimental heat of adsorption with coverage can be brought into agreement with the DFT energies if we assume that both types of octapolar surface terminations (O- and Ni-) are present on the starting surface.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number50
Pages (from-to)28001-28006
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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