Date of Award

December 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Wilfred T. Tysoe

Committee Members

Dennis W. Bennett, Carolyn R. Aita


The study of catalysis is a key area of focus not only in the industrial sector but also in the nature and biological systems. The market for catalysis is a multi-billion dollar industry. Many of the materials and products we use on a daily basis are formed through a catalytic process. The quest to understanding and improving catalytic mechanisms is ongoing. Many model catalysts use transition metals as a support for chemical reactions to take place due to their selectivity and activity. Palladium, gold, and copper metals are studied in this work and show the ability to be catalytically reactive. It is important to understand the characteristics and properties of these surfaces. A well-known example of catalysis is the conversion of carbon monoxide (CO), a very harmful gas to carbon dioxide (CO2) which is less harmful. This reaction is mainly seen in the automotive industry. This reaction is investigated in this work on a Au(111) single crystal, which is normally inert but becomes reactivity with the adsorption of oxygen on the surface. Temperature Programmed Desorption (TPD) is used to understand some of the chemistry and effects with and without the addition of H2O. The oxidation of CO is shown to be enhanced by the addition of water, but warrants further analysis too fully understand the different mechanisms and reaction pathways existing.

The field of nano-electronics is rapidly growing as technology continues to challenge scientists to create innovative ideas. The trend to produce smaller electronic products is increasing as consumer demands persist. It has been shown previously that 1,4-phenlyene diisocyanobenzene (1,4-PDI) on Au(111) react to form one-dimensional oligomer chains comprising alternating gold and 1,4-PDI units on the Au(111) surface. A similar compound 1,3-phenlyene diisocyanobenzene (1,3-PDI) was studied in order to investigate whether the oligomerization found for 1,4-PDI is a general phenomenon and to ultimately explore the effect of molecular geometry on electron transport using a range of surface-sensitive techniques.

Sulfur-containing molecules, in particular those with sulfur-sulfur linkages, are used as lubricant additives for ferrous surfaces[1-14] so that dialkyl disulfides have been used as simple model compounds to explore the surface and tribological chemistry on iron [15,16] where they react at the high temperatures attained at the interface during

rubbing to deposit a ferrous sulfide film. However, the tribological chemistry can depend critically on the nature of the substrate so that a good lubricant additive for one type of surface may not be applicable to another. In particular, the lubrication of sliding copper-copper interfaces in electrical motors [17-20] provides a particular challenge. To study this system surface sensitive techniques Low energy electron diffraction (LEED) and TPD surface analysis was employed. LEED experiments suggest that tribological experiments can be conducted on copper foils rather than copper single crystals and produce comparable results.

The ability to produce ideal model catalysts is very important in the Surface science field. To enhance catalytic performance of these catalysts, various strategies can be used in the preparation process. One approach in this quest is to produce an alloy surface that increases the activity of the surface. The process of developing and understanding the chemistry of AuPd alloys was probed in detail using TPD, LEED and Density Functional Theory (DFT).