Oxygen adsorption and stability of surface oxides on Cu(111): A first-principles investigation

Aloysius Soon, Mira Todorova, Bernard Delley, Catherine Stampfl

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221 Citations (Scopus)


As a first step towards gaining microscopic understanding of copper-based catalysts, e.g., for the low-temperature water-gas shift reaction and methanol oxidation reactions, we present density-functional theory calculations investigating the chemisorption of oxygen, and the stability of surface oxides on Cu(111). We report atomic geometries, binding energies, and electronic properties for a wide range of oxygen coverages, in addition to the properties of bulk copper oxide. Through calculation of the Gibbs free energy, taking into account the temperature and pressure via the oxygen chemical potential, we obtain the (p,T) phase diagram of O Cu(111). Our results show that for the conditions typical of technical catalysis the bulk oxide is thermodynamically most stable. If, however, formation of this fully oxidized surface is prevented due to a kinetic hindering, a thin surface-oxide structure is found to be energetically preferred compared to chemisorbed oxygen on the surface, even at very low coverage. Similarly to the late 4d transition metals (Ru, Rh, Pd, Ag), sub-surface oxygen is found to be energetically unfavorable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165424
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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