Probing the transition state region in catalytic CO oxidation on Ru

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Science  12 Feb 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261747

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Femtosecond x-ray laser pulses are used to probe the CO oxidation reaction on Ru initiated by an optical laser pulse. On a time scale of a few hundred femtoseconds, the optical laser pulse excites motions of CO and O on the surface, allowing the reactants to collide and, with a transient close to a picosecond (ps), new electronic states appear in the O K-edge x-ray absorption spectrum. Density functional theory calculations indicate that these result from changes in the adsorption site and bond-formation between CO and O with a distribution of OC–O bond lengths close to the transition state (TS). After 1 ps, 10% of the CO populate the TS region, which is consistent with predictions based on a quantum oscillator model.

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