Understanding the Reactivity of Layered Transition-Metal Sulfides: A Single Electronic Descriptor for Structure and Adsorption

Charlie Tsai, Karen Chan, Jens K. Nørskov, Frank Abild-Pedersen
Year of publication: 
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

Density functional theory is used to investigate the adsorption and structural properties of layered transition-metal sulfide (TMS) catalysts. We considered both the (101̅0) M-edge and (1̅010) S-edge terminations for a wide range of pure and doped TMSs, determined their sulfur coverage under realistic operating conditions (i.e, steady-state structures), and calculated an extensive set of chemisorption energies for several important reactions. On the basis of these results, we show that the d-band center, εd, of the edge-most metal site at 0 ML sulfur coverage is a general electronic descriptor for both structure and adsorption energies, which are known to describe catalytic activity. A negative linear correlation between adsorbate–S binding and S–metal binding allows εd to describe the adsorption of species on both metal and sulfur sites. Our results provide a significant simplification in the understanding of structure–activity relationships in TMSs and provides guidelines for the rational design and large-scale screening of these catalysts for various processes.

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