How to scrutinize adsorbed intermediates observed by in situ spectroscopy: Analysis of Coverage Transients (ACT)

S. Ted Oyama, Gwang Nam Yun, So Jin Ahn, Kyoko K. Bando, Atsushi Takagaki, Ryuji Kikuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The understanding of catalytic mechanisms is enhanced by the observation of surface intermediates at reaction conditions using spectroscopic techniques, but this is insufficient, as the observed species may not be involved in the reaction. This work describes a general method of analysis of hydrogenation or oxidation reactions which uses transient spectroscopic data to determine whether an adsorbed species is a reactive intermediate or a spectator on the surface. The assumptions and limitations of the method are summarized. Although the technique is approximate, it is easy to implement, and provides order-of-magnitude estimates of the rate of reaction of an intermediate. The method consists of measuring the change of coverage of the species with time, dθ/dt, during adsorption in inert gas or at reaction conditions. An example is given with the hydrodeoxygenation of the model compound γ-valerolactone (GVL) using a Ni2P/MCM-41 catalyst, one of the most effective catalysts reported for the transformation. The reaction is relevant to the upgrading of bio-oil derived from pyrolysis of lignocellulosic feedstocks. The kinetics of the reaction and observation by in situ infrared spectroscopy of adsorbed GVL and its transformation to pentanoic acid are consistent with a Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism. Analysis by in situ transient X-ray absorption fine structure shows that the adsorbed GVL is a true reaction intermediate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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