Structure Sensitivity of Reactions on Metal Oxide Surfaces Academic Article uri icon


  • Examples of dramatic structural effects on the surface reactivity of metal oxides have recently begun to emerge from surface science studies. We consider here archetypal reactions on the polar surfaces of zinc oxide. The (0001)-Zn polar surface abstracts protons from a variety of acidic reactants ranging from carboxylic acids to alcohols to alkynes. This surface also oxidizes aldehydes and esters via nucleophilic attack to form carboxylates. The (0001)-O polar surface is inert toward these reactants. However, when an aromatic function is present in the adsorbate, both polar surfaces are active for its decomposition, although XPS and TPD results suggest that the point of attack may differ. This knowledge of the structural requirements for surface reactions may be used as a guide for the rational design and synthesis of new materials with specific functions for catalyst and sensor applications. 1988 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.

published proceedings

  • Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis

author list (cited authors)

  • Barteau, M. A., & Vohs, J. M.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Barteau, MA||Vohs, JM

publication date

  • January 1989