Reactivity of hydrogen and methanol on (0 0 1) surfaces of WO3, ReO3, WO3/ReO3 and ReO3/WO 3

Sanliang Ling, Donghai Mei, MacIej Gutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Bulk tungsten trioxide (WO3) and rhenium trioxide (ReO 3) share very similar structures but display different electronic properties. WO3 is a wide bandgap semiconductor while ReO3 is an electronic conductor. With the advanced molecular beam epitaxy techniques, it is possible to make heterostructures comprised of layers of WO3 and ReO3. These heterostructures might display reactivity different than pure WO3 and ReO3. The interactions of two probe molecules (hydrogen and methanol) with the (0 0 1) surfaces of WO3, ReO3, and two heterostructures ReO 3/WO3 and WO3/ReO3 were investigated at the density functional theory level. Atomic hydrogen prefers to adsorb at the mono-coordinated O (O1C) sites forming a surface hydroxyl on four surfaces. Dissociative adsorption of a hydrogen molecule at the O1C site leads to formation of a water molecule adsorbed at the penta-coordinated metal (M5C) site. This is thermodynamically the most stable state. A thermodynamically less stable dissociative state involves two surface hydroxyl groups O1CH and O2CH. The interaction of molecular hydrogen and methanol with pure ReO3 is stronger than with pure WO3 and the strength of the interaction substantially changes on the WO3/ReO3 and ReO3/WO3 heterostructures. The reaction barriers for decomposition and recombination reactions are sensitive to the nature of heterostructure. The calculated adsorption energy of methanol on WO3(0 0 1) of -65.6 kJ/mol is consistent with the previous experimental estimation of -67 kJ/mol. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalCatalysis Today
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2011


  • Density functional theory
  • Epitaxy
  • Heterostructure
  • Hydrogen
  • Methanol
  • Rhenium trioxide
  • Tungsten trioxide


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