Plasma species interacting with nickel surfaces: Toward an atomic scale understanding of plasma-catalysis

W. Somers, A. Bogaerts, A. C T Van Duin, E. C. Neyts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The adsorption probability and reaction behavior of CH x plasma species on various nickel catalyst surfaces is investigated by means of reactive molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using the ReaxFF potential. Such catalysts are used in the reforming of hydrocarbons and in the growth of carbon nanotubes, and further insight in the underlying mechanisms of these processes is needed to increase their applicability. Single and consecutive impacts of CH x radicals (x={1,2,3}) were performed on four different Ni surfaces, at a temperature of 400 K. The adsorption probability is shown to be related to the number of free electrons, i.e. a higher number leads to more adsorptions, and the steric hindrance caused by the hydrogen atoms bonded to the impacting CH x species. Furthermore, some of the C-H bonds break after adsorption, which generally leads to diffusion of the hydrogen atom over the surface. Additionally, these adsorbed H-atoms can be used in reactions to form new molecules, such as CH 4 and C 2H x, although this is dependent on the precise morphology of the surface. New molecules are also formed by subtraction of H-atoms from adsorbed radicals, leading to occasional formation of H 2 and C 2H x molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20958-20965
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 4 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • General Energy


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