Thermal Decomposition of CH3OH Adsorbed on Pd{l 11}: A New Reaction Pathway Involving CH3 Formation

Robert J. Levis, Jiang Zhicheng, Nicholas Winograd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


The adsorption and subsequent decomposition of CH3OH on Pdf 111} has been examined with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) over the temperature range 110–600 K. We find that the thermal decomposition reaction pathway after adsorption at 110 K is strongly dependent on the initial CH3OH exposure. Below the saturation CH3OH exposure of 1.5 langmuirs the primary decomposition products are observed to be CH3ads, OCH3ads, and H2Oads, This chemistry suggests that the methanolic C-O bond is activated at the metal surface. These products are observed to form at temperatures as low as 125 K. For exposures above 1.5 langmuirs this decomposition pathway is no longer observed, possibly due to a site blocking effect, and molecular desorption occurs with trace decomposition. Interestingly, we find no evidence that CH3OH adsorbed at 110 K with initial exposures below 1.5 langmuirs decomposes to CO at any temperature below the thermal desorption temperature of CO at 490 K. Finally, the SIMS ion observed at m/e 15 (CH3ads) and associated with the decomposition of CH3OH is found to persist over the rather wide temperature range 125–400 K. The unusual stability of CH3ads suggested by these findings may be related to the effectiveness of Pd-based catalysts to produce CH3OH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4605-4612
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal Decomposition of CH3OH Adsorbed on Pd{l 11}: A New Reaction Pathway Involving CH3 Formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this