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On the nature of the active site for the ethylbenzene dehydrogenation over iron oxide catalysts

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Weiss,  Werner
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Zscherpel,  Detlef
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Schlögl,  Robert
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Weiss, W., Zscherpel, D., & Schlögl, R. (1998). On the nature of the active site for the ethylbenzene dehydrogenation over iron oxide catalysts. Catalysis Letters, 52(3-4), 215-220. doi:10.1023/A:1019052310644.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5C0E-4
Abstract
The dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene was studied over single-crystalline iron oxide model catalyst films grown epitaxially onto Pt(111) substrates. The role of the iron oxide stoichiometry and of atomic surface defects for the catalytic activity was investigated by preparing single-phased Fe3O4(111) and α-Fe2O3(0001) films with defined surface structures and varying concentrations of atomic surface defects. The structure and composition of the iron oxide films were controlled by low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), the surface defect concentrations were determined from the diffuse background intensities in the LEED patterns. These ultrahigh vacuum experiments were combined with batch reactor experiments performed in water–ethylbenzene mixtures with a total gas pressure of 0.6 mbar. No styrene formation is observed on the Fe3O4 films. The α-Fe2O3 films are catalytically active, and the styrene formation rate increases with increasing surface defect concentration on these films. This reveals atomic surface defects as active sites for the ethylbenzene dehydrogenation over unpromoted α-Fe2O3. After 30 min reaction time, the films were deactivated by hydrocarbon surface deposits. The deactivation process was monitored by imaging the surface deposits with a photoelectron emission microscope (PEEM). It starts at extended defects and exhibits a pattern formation after further growth. This indicates that the deactivation is a site-selective process. Post-reaction LEED and AES analysis reveals partly reduced Fe2O3 films, which shows that a reduction process takes place during the reaction which also deactivates the Fe2O3 films.