Charging Effects on Bonding and Catalyzed Oxidation of CO on Au8 Clusters on MgO

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Science  21 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5708, pp. 403-407
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104168

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Gold octamers (Au8) bound to oxygen-vacancy F-center defects on Mg(001) are the smallest clusters to catalyze the low-temperature oxidation of CO to CO2, whereas clusters deposited on close-to-perfect magnesia surfaces remain chemically inert. Charging of the supported clusters plays a key role in promoting their chemical activity. Infrared measurements of the stretch vibration of CO adsorbed on mass-selected gold octamers soft-landed on MgO(001) with coadsorbed O2 show a red shift on an F-center–rich surface with respect to the perfect surface. The experiments agree with quantum ab initio calculations that predict that a red shift of the C–O vibration should arise via electron back-donation to the CO antibonding orbital.

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