Surface and Interface Studies of ZnO using Reactive Dynamics Simulation
Sammanfattning: About 90% of all chemicals are produced with the help of catalysts, substances with the ability to accelerate reactions without being consumed. Metal oxides play a prominent role in catalysis, since they are able to act reversibly in many chemical processes. Zink oxide (ZnO) is used to catalyse a number of industrially important reactions. For many of these reactions water is present as a reactant, product, or byproduct. The surface structure has a significant impact on the catalytic activity. However, currently, no experimental method simultaneously offers the spatial and temporal resolution to directly follow a catalytic process.This thesis explores surface structure dependent dynamical behavior for ZnO surfaces, nanoparticles, and water interfaces, using the computational chemistry method Molecular Dynamics, which enables detailed studies of structural and dynamical processes. Quantum mechanical (QM) calculations have been performed to obtain the energetics of the materials as a function of structure. This data has been used to parametrize reactive force-fields (ReaxFF), since the catalytic processes require both far larger and longer simulations than the capabilities of QM calculations on current computers.The simulations show that when steps are present on the surface, during crystal growth of ZnO, the creation of energetically favorable structures is accelerated. At the ZnO - water interface, structures that favor hydrogen bonding is promoted. At low, monolayer, coverage water adsorbs both molecularly and dissociatively, whereas at high coverage dissociated adsorption is favored. During evaporation from the monolayers, the ratio of dissociated and molecular water is preserved. Surface steps stabilizes the dissociated state as well as increases the rate of dissociation. The dynamical properties of ZnO nanoparticles were explored using Raman measurements and simulation. In both simulation and experiment certain vibrations were suppressed in the nanoparticles, compared to bulk. The simulations show that a narrow surface region lack the bulk-specific vibrations.
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