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Ammonia Synthesis from First-Principles Calculations

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Science  28 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5709, pp. 555-558
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106435

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Abstract

The rate of ammonia synthesis over a nanoparticle ruthenium catalyst can be calculated directly on the basis of a quantum chemical treatment of the problem using density functional theory. We compared the results to measured rates over a ruthenium catalyst supported on magnesium aluminum spinel. When the size distribution of ruthenium particles measured by transmission electron microscopy was used as the link between the catalyst material and the theoretical treatment, the calculated rate was within a factor of 3 to 20 of the experimental rate. This offers hope for computer-based methods in the search for catalysts.

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