Major successes of theory-and-experiment-combined studies in surface chemistry and heterogeneous catalysis

  • Somorjai G
  • Li Y
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Experimental discoveries followed by theoretical interpretations that pave the way of further advances by experimentalists is a developing pattern in modern surface chemistry and catalysis. The revolution of modern surface science started with the development of surface-sensitive techniques such as LEED, XPS, AES, ISS and SIMS, in which the close collaboration between experimentalists and theorists led to the quantitative determination of surface structure and composition. The experimental discovery of the chemical activity of surface defects and the trends in the reactivity of transitional metals followed by the explanations from the theoretical studies led to the molecular level understanding of active sites in catalysis. The molecular level knowledge, in turn, provided a guide for experiments to search for new generation of catalysts. These and many other examples of successes in experiment-and-theory-combined studies demonstrate the importance of the collaboration between experimentalists and theorists in the development of modern surface science.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Catalysis
  • Surface chemistry
  • Theory success

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  • Gabor A. Somorjai

  • Yimin Li

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