Oxygen vacancies as active sites for water dissociation on rutile TiO2(110)

R. Schaub, P. Thostrup, Nuria Lopez, E. Lægsgaard, I. Stensgaard, Jens Kehlet Nørskov, Flemming Besenbacher

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Through an interplay between scanning tunneling microscopy experiments and density functional theory calculations, we determine unambiguously the active surface site responsible for the dissociation of water molecules adsorbed on rutile TiO2(110). Oxygen vacancies in the surface layer are shown to dissociate H2O through the transfer of one proton to a nearby oxygen atom, forming two hydroxyl groups for every vacancy. The amount of water dissociation is limited by the density of oxygen vacancies present on the clean surface exclusively. The dissociation process sets in as soon as molecular water is able to diffuse to the active site.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number26
Pages (from-to)266104
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2001 American Physical Society


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