Modeling the Interface of Platinum and α-Quartz(001): Implications for Sintering

Philipp N. Plessow, Roel S. Sánchez-Carrera, Lin Li, Michael Rieger, Simeon Sauer, Ansgar Schaefer, Frank Abild-Pedersen
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Journal of Physical Chemistry C

We present a first-principles study which aims to understand the metal–support interaction of platinum nanoparticles on α-quartz(001) and, more generally, silica. The thermodynamic stability of the α-quartz(001) surface and its interface with Pt(111) are investigated as a function of temperature and partial pressure of H2O and O2. Potential defects in the α-quartz(001) surface as well as the adsorption energies of the Pt atom are also studied. This allows us to draw conclusions concerning nanoparticle shape and the resistance toward particle migration based on the interface free energies. We find that, as for the clean α-quartz(001) surface, a dry, reconstructed interface is expected at temperatures that are high but within experimentally relevant ranges. On an ideal, dry, reconstructed surface, particle migration is predicted to be a fast sintering mechanism. On real surfaces, defects may locally prevent reconstruction and act as anchoring points. The energetics of the adsorption of platinum atoms on α-quartz(001) do not support surface-mediated single-atom migration as a viable path for sintering on the investigated surfaces.

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