Ethanol and Water Adsorption on Transition-Metal 13-Atom Clusters: A Density Functional Theory Investigation within van der Waals Corrections

Larissa Zibordi-Besse, Polina Tereshchuk, Anderson S. Chaves, Juarez L.F. Da Silva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transition-metal (TM) nanoparticles supported on oxides or carbon black have attracted much attention as potential catalysts for ethanol steam reforming reactions for hydrogen production. To improve the performance of nanocatalysts, a fundamental understanding of the interaction mechanism between water and ethanol with finite TM particles is required. In this article, we employed first-principles density functional theory with van der Waals (vdW) corrections to investigate the interaction of ethanol and water with TM13 clusters, where TM = Ni, Cu, Pd, Ag, Pt, and Au. We found that both water and ethanol bind via the anionic O atom to onefold TM sites, while at higher-energy structures, ethanol binds also via the H atom from the CH2 group to the TM sites, which can play an important role at real catalysts. The putative global minimum TM13 configurations are only slightly affected upon the adsorption of water or ethanol; however, for few systems, the compact higher-energy icosahedron structure changes its configuration upon ethanol or water adsorption. That is, those configurations are only shallow local minimums in the phase space. Except few deviations, we found similar trends for the magnitude of the adsorption energies of water and ethanol, that is, Ni13 > Pt13 > Pd13 and Cu13 > Au13 > Ag13, which is enhanced by the addition of the vdW correction (i.e., from 4% to 62%); however, the trend is the same. We found that the magnitude of the adsorption energy increases by shifting the center of gravity of the d-states toward the highest occupied molecular orbital. On the basis of the Mulliken and Hirshfeld charge analysis, as well as electron density differences, we identified the location of the charge redistribution and a tiny charge transfer (from 0.01 e to 0.19 e) from the molecules to the TM13 clusters. Our vibrational analysis indicates the red shifts in the OH modes upon binding of both water and ethanol molecules to the TM13 clusters, suggesting a weakening of the O-H bonding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4231-4240
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number24
StatePublished - 23 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethanol and Water Adsorption on Transition-Metal 13-Atom Clusters: A Density Functional Theory Investigation within van der Waals Corrections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this