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Journal Article

Autocatalytic and Cooperatively Stabilized Dissociation of Water on a Stepped Platinum Surface


Ghiringhelli,  Luca M.
Theory, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Donadio, D., Ghiringhelli, L. M., & Delle Site, L. (2012). Autocatalytic and Cooperatively Stabilized Dissociation of Water on a Stepped Platinum Surface. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(46), 19217-19222. doi:10.1021/ja308899g.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-AF42-B
Water–metal interfaces are ubiquitous and play a key role in many chemical processes, from catalysis to corrosion. Whereas water adlayers on atomically flat transition metal surfaces have been investigated in depth, little is known about the chemistry of water on stepped surfaces, commonly occurring in realistic situations. Using first-principles simulations, we study the adsorption of water on a stepped platinum surface. We find that water adsorbs preferentially at the step edge, forming linear clusters or chains, stabilized by the cooperative effect of chemical bonds with the substrate and hydrogen bonds. In contrast with their behavior on flat Pt, at steps water molecules dissociate, forming mixed hydroxyl/water structures, through an autocatalytic mechanism promoted by H-bonding. Nuclear quantum effects contribute to stabilize partially dissociated cluster and chains. Together with the recently demonstrated behavior of water chains adsorbed on stepped Pt surfaces to transfer protons via thermally activated hopping, these findings make these systems viable candidates for proton wires.