The influence of planar defects, in the form of stacking faults, within perovskite oxides on catalytic activity has received little attention because controlling stacking-fault densities presents a major synthetic challenge. Furthermore, stacking faults in ceramics are not thought to appreciably impact surface chemistry, which partly explains why their direct effect on catalysis is generally ignored. Here, we show that Ruddlesden-Popper (RP) stacking faults in otherwise stoichiometric LaFeO3 can be broadly controlled by modulating the ceramic synthesis route. Electronic structure calculations along with electron microscopy and spectroscopy show that energetically favorable RP faults occur both near the surface and in bunches and enhance CO oxidation kinetics. Density functional theory (DFT) + U shows that subsurface RP faults strengthen the adsorption and co-adsorption of CO, O, and O2, which could lower the apparent activation energy of CO oxidation on faulted catalysts compared to that on their pristine counterparts. Our work suggests that planar defects should be considered a new and useful feature in hierarchal nanoscale design of future catalysts.
- defect engineering
- fault structure