Adsorption of water and carbon monoxide on Cu₂O(111) single crystal surfaces

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Virginia Tech

Water and CO adsorptions were studied over the stoichiometric and the oxygen-deficient Cu₂O(111) surfaces, using thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS), ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Water is the only desorbing species detected in TDS and the extent of dissociation is unaffected by the surface condition: ≃ 0.25 monolayers of water dissociate on Cu₂O(111) regardless of surface condition. The local defect environment around oxygen vacancies does not play a significant role in the activity of the Cu₂O(111) surface for the dissociation of water. CO is found to bind molecularly to the surface through the carbon atom and with a heat of adsorption of 22 kcal/mol, higher value than that of CO on Cu₂O(100) (16.7 kcal/mol). This suggests that the local geometry of adsorption sites may play an important role in the way CO binds to Cu₂O surfaces. Electronic changes upon CO adsorption and the higher heat of adsorption indicate an increased σ-donor character for CO, with some π-backbonding interactions. The local defect environment around oxygen vacancies does not appear to affect CO adsorption on Cu₂O(111) surfaces.