Catalysis on Oxide Surfaces

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1407-1409
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1407

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The surface atoms of solid catalysts generally have lower coordination numbers than the bulk atoms, that is they are "coordinatively unsaturated" (cus). As Knözinger explains in this Perspective, this has important consequences for their catalytic properties. The surface atom coordination sphere may be completed by adsorbed molecules, and these may be activated for catalytic transformations, in close analogy to processes occurring on metal complexes. Over et al. (page 1474) succeed in verifying this concept of coordinatively unsaturated sites (cus) on the atomic scale.