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Journal Article

Macroscopic and mesoscopic characterization of a bistable reaction system: CO oxidation on Pt(111) surface


Berdau,  Martin
Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;
Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, Germany;


Block,  Jochen H.
Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Berdau, M., Yelenin, G. G., Karpowicz, A., Ehsasi, M., Christmann, K., & Block, J. H. (1999). Macroscopic and mesoscopic characterization of a bistable reaction system: CO oxidation on Pt(111) surface. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 110(23), 11551-11573. doi:10.1063/1.479097.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-F90C-3
The catalytic oxidation of CO by oxygen on a platinum (111) single-crystal surface in a gas-flow reactor follows the Langmuir–Hinshelwood reaction mechanism. It exhibits two macroscopic stable steady states (low reactivity: CO-covered surface; high reactivity: O-covered surface), as determined by mass spectrometry. Unlike other Pt and Pd surface orientations no temporal and spatiotemporal oscillations are formed. Accordingly, CO+O/Pt(111)
can be considered as one of the least complicated heterogeneous reaction systems. We measured both the macroscopic and mesoscopic reaction behavior by mass spectrometry and photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM), respectively, and explored especially the region of the phase transition between low and high reactivity. We followed the rate-dependent width of an observed hysteresis in the reactivity and the kinetics of nucleation and growth of individual oxygen and CO islands using the PEEM technique. We were able to adjust conditions of the external control parameters which totally inhibited the motion of the reaction/diffusion front. By systematic variation of these conditions we could pinpoint a whole region of external control parameters in which the reaction/diffusion front does not move. Parallel model calculations suggest that the front is actually pinned by surface defects. In summary, our experiments and simulation reveal the existence of an “experimental” bistable region inside the “computed” bistable region of the reactivity diagram (S-shaped curve) leading to a novel dollar ($)-shaped curve.