Surface Science and Catalysis

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Science  22 Feb 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4689, pp. 902-908
DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4689.902


During the last 20 years, surface scientists have developed a variety of techniques that make it possible to study, on the molecular level, the structure, composition, and chemical bonding in the surface monolayer. Both single-crystal model catalysts and real catalyst systems that are active in important chemical processes have been investigated by a combination of ultrahigh-vacuum surface science techniques and high-pressure kinetic techniques in an effort to determine the relation between the structure and composition of the surface and the rates of reaction and selectivities. The structure of the atomic surface, a strongly adsorbed overlayer, and the oxidation states of surface atoms are the important molecular features of an active catalyst. As a consequence of modern surface science, the design and preparation of catalysts has developed from an art into a high technology.