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Journal of Chemical Physics





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We use density functional theory(DFT) to investigate the bonding of propene to small gas-phase gold clusters and to a Au(111) surface. The desorption energy trends and the geometry of the binding sites are consistent with the following set of rules. (1) The bond of propene to gold is formed by donation of electron density from the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) of propene to one of the low-lying empty orbitals [denoted by LUMO1, LUMO2, … (LUMO–lowest unoccupied molecular orbital)] of the gold cluster. (2) Propene binds to a site on the Au cluster where one of the low-lying LUMOs protrudes in the vacuum. Different isomers (same cluster, but different binding sites for propene) correspond to sites where different low-lying LUMOs protrude in space. (3) The desorption energy of the lowest energy isomer correlates with the energy of the lowest empty orbital of the cluster; the lower the energy of that LUMO, the higher the desorption energy. (4) If the lowest-lying LUMO protrudes into space at two nonequivalent sites at the edge of a cluster, propene binds more strongly to the site with the lowest coordination. These rules are consistent with the calculated bond energies and geometries for [Aun(C3H6)]q, for n=1−5 and n=8 and q=−1, 0, +1. Based on them we have made a number of predictions that have been confirmed by DFT calculations. The bond of propene to gold is strengthened as the net charge of the cluster varies from −1, to zero, to +1. Compared to a gas-phase cluster, a cluster on a support binds propene more strongly if the support takes electron density from the cluster (e.g., a Au cluster on a goldsurface) and more weakly if the support donates electron density to the cluster (e.g., a Au cluster on an oxygen vacancy on an oxide surface).


The following article appeared in Journal of Chemical Physics 121 (2004): 3756, and may be found at doi:10.1063/1.1769366.


Copyright 2004 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

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