Electronic Structure and Catalytic Behavior of Tungsten Carbide

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Science  03 May 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4136, pp. 563-565
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4136.563


Tungsten carbide has been shown to be an effective catalyst for a number of reactions that are readily catalyzed by platinum, but not at all by tungsten, and it was speculated that this behavior is due to changes in the electron distribution when carbon is added to tungsten. A test of this hypothesis, made by measuring the valence band x-ray photoelectron spectrum of tungsten carbide and comparing it with the spectra of tungsten and platinum, shows that, near the Fermi level, the electronic density of states of tungsten carbide more nearly resembles that of platinum than that of tungsten.