Microkinetic Modeling of Nanoparticle Catalysis using Density Functional Theory
Heterogeneous catalysis is vitally important to modern society, and one path towards
rational catalyst design is through atomistic scale understanding. The atomistic scale
can be linked to macroscopic observables by microkinetic models based on first-principles
calculations. With the increasing accuracy of first-principles methods and growing com-
putational resources, it has become important to investigate and further develop the
methodology of microkinetic modeling, which is the theme of this thesis.
First, a procedure for mean-field microkinetic modeling of reactions over extended surfaces
is developed, where complete methane oxidation over Pd(100) and Pd(111) is studied as
an example. The model reveals how the main reaction mechanisms depend on reaction
conditions, and shows poisoning as well as promotion phenomena.
Second, the effect of entropy in microkinetic modeling is investigated, where CO oxidation
over Pt(111) is used as a model reaction. Entropy is found to affect reaction kinetics
substantially. Moreover, a method named Complete Potential Energy Sampling (CPES)
is developed as a flexible tool for estimating adsorbate-entropy.
Third, a kinetic Monte Carlo method is developed to bridge the materials gap in het-
erogeneous catalysis. The computational cost to map out the complete reaction-energy-
landscape on a nanoparticle is high, which is solved herein using generalized coordination
numbers as descriptors for reaction energies. CO oxidation over Pt is studied, and
nanoparticles are found to behave differently than the corresponding extended surfaces.
Moreover, the active site is found to vary with reaction conditions.
Finally, the reaction orders and apparent activation energies are coupled to the microscale
via the degree of rate control, which enhances the atomistic understanding of reaction
Density Functional Theory
Kinetic Monte Carlo
KB Lecture Hall, Kemigården 4, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96, Göteborg Sweden
Opponent: Dr. Hanne Falsig, Haldor Topsøe A/S, Denmark