Microscopic and spectroscopic techniques at near-atmospheric pressures have been used in recent years to investigate CO oxidation over Pt-group metals. New insights have been obtained that allow broadening of the understanding of this reaction beyond the ultrahigh vacuum regime where it is well-understood. However, new issues also have arisen that need clarification. In this paper, we review recent work in our laboratory, using polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRAS) and reaction kinetics measurements from ultrahigh vacuum to near-atmospheric pressures. These studies reveal a continuity of this reaction with respect to pressure over Pt, Pd, and Rh; that is, Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetics is exhibited over a wide pressure range with no apparent "pressure gap". The difference between Ru(0001) and other noble metals is well-understood with respect to higher oxygen binding energies and reduced CO inhibition. It is concluded that for all Pt-group metals the most active phase is one saturated with chemisorbed oxygen and with low CO coverages. The significance of oxide phases under most industrially relevant catalytic conditions suggested recently in the literature is not consistent with the experimental data.
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