Breaking Simple Scaling Relations Through Metal-Oxide Interactions: Understanding Room Temperature Activation of Methane on M-CeO2 (M= Pt, Ni or Co) Interfaces

12 October 2020, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The clean activation of methane at low temperatures remains an eminent challenge and a field of competitive research. In particular, on late transition metal surfaces such as Pt(111) or Ni(111), elevated temperatures are necessary to activate the hydrocarbon molecule, but a massive deposition of carbon makes the metal surface useless for catalytic activity. However, on very low-loaded M/CeO2 (M= Pt, Ni, or Co) surfaces, the dissociation of methane occurs at room temperature, which is unexpected considering simple linear scaling relationships. This intriguing phenomenon has been studied using a combination of experimental techniques (ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, time-resolved X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy) and density functional theory-based calculations. The experimental and theoretical studies show that the size and morphology of the supported nanoparticles together with strong metal-support interactions are behind the deviations from the scaling relations. These findings point toward a possible strategy to circumvent scaling relations, producing active and stable catalysts which can be employed for methane activation and conversion.


strong metal support interaction

Supplementary materials

Lustemberg etal JPCLett SupInfo resubmission R3-final


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