ReaxFF Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulation of adsorption and dissociation of oxygen on platinum (111)

Paolo Valentini, Thomas E. Schwartzentruber, Ioana Cozmuta

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22 Scopus citations


Atomic-level Grand Canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) simulations equipped with a reactive force field (ReaxFF) are used to study atomic oxygen adsorption on a Pt(111) surface. The off-lattice GCMC calculations presented here rely solely on the interatomic potential and do not necessitate the pre-computation of surface adlayer structures and their interpolation. As such, they provide a predictive description of adsorbate phases. In this study, validation is obtained with experimental evidence (steric heats of adsorption and isotherms) as well as DFT-based state diagrams available in the literature. The ReaxFF computed steric heats of adsorption agree well with experimental data, and this study clearly shows that indirect dissociative adsorption of O2 on Pt(111) is an activated process at non-zero coverages, with an activation energy that monotonically increases with coverage. At a coverage of 0.25 ML, a highly ordered p(2 × 2) adlayer is found, in agreement with several low-energy electron diffraction observations. Isotherms obtained from the GCMC simulations compare qualitatively and quantitatively well with previous DFT-based state diagrams, but are in disagreement with the experimental data sets available. ReaxFF GCMC simulations at very high coverages show that O atoms prefer to bind in fcc hollow sites, at least up to 0.8 ML considered in the present work. At moderate coverages, little to no disorder appears in the Pt lattice. At high coverages, some Pt atoms markedly protrude out of the surface plane. This observation is in qualitative agreement with recent STM images of an oxygen covered Pt surface. The use of the GCMC technique based on a transferable potential is particularly valuable to produce more realistic systems (adsorbent and adsorbate) to be used in subsequent dynamical simulations (Molecular Dynamics) to address recombination reactions (via either Eley-Rideal or Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanisms) on variously covered surfaces. By using GCMC and Molecular Dynamics simulations, the ReaxFF force field can be a valuable tool for understanding heterogeneous catalysis on a solid surface. Finally, the use of a reactive potential is a necessary requirement to investigate problems where dissociative adsorption occurs, as typical of many important catalytic processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1950
Number of pages10
JournalSurface Science
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Grand Canonical Monte Carlo
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Reactive force field

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