The Role of Oxides in Catalytic CO Oxidation over Rhodium and Palladium
Journal article, 2018

Catalytic CO oxidation is a seemingly simple reaction between CO and O2 molecules, one of the reactions in automotive catalytic converters, and the fruit-fly reaction in model catalysis. Surprisingly, the phase responsible for the catalytic activity is still under debate, despite decades of investigations. We have performed a simple but yet conclusive study of single crystal Rh and Pd model catalysts, resolving this controversy. For Rh, the oxygen-covered metallic surface is more active than the oxide, while for Pd, thin oxidefilms are at least as active as the metallic surface, but a thicker oxide is less active. Apart from resolving a long-standing debate, our results pinpoint important design principles for oxidation catalysts as to prevent catalytic extinction at high oxygen exposures.

active phase



oxidation catalysis

CO oxidation


surface oxide


Gustafson Johan

Lund University

Olivier Balmes

MAX IV Laboratory

Chu Zhang

Lund University

Mikhail Shipilin

Stockholm University

Andreas Schaefer

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry

Hagman Benjamin

Lund University

Lindsay Merte

Chalmers, Physics, Chemical Physics

MAX IV Laboratory

Natalia Mihaela Martin

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry

Per-Anders Carlsson

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry

Jankowski Maciej

European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF)

Ethan J. Crumlin

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Lundgren Edvin

Lund University

ACS Catalysis

21555435 (eISSN)

Vol. 8 5 4438-4445

Synergistic development of X-ray techniques and applicable thin oxides for sustainable chemistry

Swedish Research Council (VR) (2017-06709), 2018-04-04 -- 2021-12-31.

Time-resolved in situ methods for design of catalytic sites within sustainable chemistry

Swedish Research Council (VR) (2013-567), 2013-01-01 -- 2016-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



Materials Science

Subject Categories

Materials Chemistry

Condensed Matter Physics



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