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Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 21(48): 26637-26646, 2019 Dec 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31774074


Mixed CeO2-ZrO2 nanoclusters have the potential to play a crucial role in nanocatalysis, however, the atomistic understanding of those nanoclusters is far from satisfactory. In this work, we report a density functional theory investigation combined with Spearman rank correlation analysis of the energetic, structural and electronic properties of mixed CenZr15-nO30 nanoclusters as a function of the composition (n = 0, 1,…,14, 15). For instance, we found a negative excess energy for all putative global minimum CenZr15-nO30 configurations with a minimum at about n = 6 (i.e., nearly 40% Ce), in which both the oxygen anion surroundings and cation radii play a crucial role in the stability and distribution of the chemical species. We found a strong energetic preference of Zr4+ cations to occupy larger coordination number sites, i.e., the nanocluster core region, while the Ce4+ cations are located near vacuum exposed O-rich regions. As expected, we obtained an almost linear decrease of the average bond lengths by replacing Ce4+ by Zr4+ cations in the (ZrO2)15 nanoclusters towards the formation of mixed CenZr15-nO30 nanoclusters, which resulted in a shift towards higher vibrational frequencies. Besides, we also observed that the relative stability of the mixed oxides is directly correlated with the increase (decrease) of the Zr d-state (Ce f-state) contribution to the highest occupied molecular orbital with the increase of the Zr content, hence driving the gap energy towards higher values.

J Chem Phys ; 149(24): 244702, 2018 Dec 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30599733


The adsorption of Zr on the CeO2 surfaces can lead to the formation of ZrO2-like structures, which can play a crucial role in the catalytic properties of Ce x Zr1-x O2 as support for transition-metal catalysts; however, our atomistic understanding is far from satisfactory, and hence, it affects our capacity to engineer the combination of ZrO2-CeO2 for catalysis applications. Here, we investigate the adsorption of Zr n (n = 1 - 4) atoms on CeO2(111) surfaces through density functional theory with the Hubbard model and bring new insights into the Zr-CeO2 interaction and the formation of ZrO2-like structures on ceria. We found that the Zr atoms oxidize to Zr4+ and strongly interact with the O2- anions, reducing the surface Ce4+ cations to Ce3+ (4 Ce atoms per Zr adatom), which stabilizes the system by more than 10 eV per Zr. As more Zr is adsorbed, the O2- species migrate from the sub-surface to interact with the on-surface Zr adatoms in hcp sites, producing a full ZrO2-like monolayer, which contributes to reduce the strain induced by the increased size of the Ce3+ cations compared with Ce4+. The simulated partial and full ZrO2-like structure thicknesses agree with the experimental measurements. In addition, we found an unprecedented trend for the on-surface Zr atoms: our calculations show that they are less stable than Zr replacing Ce3+ atoms from the first cation layer. Therefore, under sufficiently high temperatures, one expects the formation of a Ce2O3-like/c-ZrO2/CeO2 structure, which may completely change the reactivity of the surface.

J Chem Phys ; 145(12): 124709, 2016 Sep 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27782643


Finite site platinum particles, Ptn, supported on reduced or unreduced cerium oxide surfaces, i.e., CeO2-x(111) (0

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 17(20): 13520-30, 2015 May 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25939360


Despite extensive studies of transition metal (TM) clusters supported on ceria (CeO2), fundamental issues such as the role of the TM atoms in the change in the oxidation state of Ce atoms are still not well understood. In this work, we report a theoretical investigation based on static and ab initio molecular dynamics density functional theory calculations of the interaction of 13-atom TM clusters (TM = Pd, Ag, Pt, Au) with the unreduced CeO2(111) surface represented by a large surface unit cell and employing Hubbard corrections for the strong on-site Coulomb correlation in the Ce f-electrons. We found that the TM13 clusters form pyramidal-like structures on CeO2(111) in the lowest energy configurations with the following stacking sequence, TM/TM4/TM8/CeO2(111), while TM13 adopts two-dimensional structures at high energy structures. TM13 induces a change in the oxidation state of few Ce atoms (3 of 16) located in the topmost Ce layer from Ce(IV) (itinerant Ce f-states) to Ce(III) (localized Ce f-states). There is a charge flow from the TM atoms to the CeO2(111) surface, which can be explained by the electronegativity difference between the TM (Pd, Ag, Pt, Au) and O atoms, however, the charge is not uniformly distributed on the topmost O layer due to the pressure induced by the TM13 clusters on the underlying O ions, which yields a decrease in the ionic charge of the O ions located below the cluster and an increase in the remaining O ions. Due to the charge flow mainly from the TM8-layer to the topmost O-layer, the charge cannot flow from the Ce(IV) atoms to the O atoms with the same magnitude as in the clean CeO2(111) surface. Consequently, the effective cationic charge decreases mainly for the Ce atoms that have a bond with the O atoms not located below the cluster, and hence, those Ce atoms change their oxidation state from IV to III. This increases the size of the Ce(III) compared with the Ce(IV) cations, which builds-in a strain within the topmost Ce layer, and hence, also affecting the location of the Ce(III) cations and the structure of the TM13 clusters.

J Phys Condens Matter ; 26(39): 395501, 2014 Oct 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25204457


Intermediate-band materials can improve the photovoltaic efficiency of solar cells through the absorption of two subband-gap photons that allow extra electron-hole pair formations. Previous theoretical and experimental findings support the proposal that the layered SnS2 compound, with a band-gap of around 2 eV, is a candidate for an intermediate-band material when it is doped with a specific transition-metal. In this work we characterize vanadium doped SnS2 using density functional theory at the dilution level experimentally found and including a dispersion correction combined with the site-occupancy-disorder method. In order to analyze the electronic characteristics that depend on geometry, two SnS2 polytypes partially substituted with vanadium in symmetry-adapted non-equivalent configurations were studied. In addition the magnetic configurations of vanadium in a SnS2 2H-polytype and its comparison with a 4H-polytype were also characterized. We demonstrate that a narrow intermediate-band is formed, when these dopant atoms are located in different layers. Our theoretical predictions confirm the recent experimental findings in which a paramagnetic intermediate-band material in a SnS2 2H-polytype with 10% vanadium concentration is obtained.

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 13(45): 20401-7, 2011 Dec 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-21996706


Intermediate band materials can boost photovoltaic efficiency through an increase in photocurrent without photovoltage degradation thanks to the use of two sub-bandgap photons to achieve a full electronic transition from the valence band to the conduction band of a semiconductor structure. After having reported in previous works several transition metal-substituted semiconductors as able to achieve the electronic structure needed for this scheme, we propose at present carrying out this substitution in sulfides that have bandgaps of around 2.0 eV and containing octahedrally coordinated cations such as In or Sn. Specifically, the electronic structure of layered SnS(2) with Sn partially substituted by vanadium is examined here with first principles quantum methods and seen to give favourable characteristics in this respect. The synthesis of this material in nanocrystalline powder form is then undertaken and achieved using solvothermal chemical methods. The insertion of vanadium in SnS(2) is found to produce an absorption spectrum in the UV-Vis-NIR range that displays a new sub-bandgap feature in agreement with the quantum calculations. A photocatalytic reaction-based test verifies that this sub-bandgap absorption produces highly mobile electrons and holes in the material that may be used for the solar energy conversion, giving experimental support to the quantum calculations predictions.