Oxygen Vacancies and Catalysis on Ceria Surfaces

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 713-714
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113955

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Oxygen vacancies on cerium oxide surfaces play a crucial role in catalysts for automotive exhaust treatment and the hydrogen economy. In their Perspective, Campbell and Peden describe new work ( Esch et al. ) that uses scanning tunneling microscopy combined with density functional theory to reveal the geometric and electronic structure of these oxygen vacancies. Their structure suggests a mechanism for the rather surprising zirconia promotion of ceria catalysts.