Structure sensitivity in methanol decomposition on ZnO single-crystal surfaces

W. H. Cheng, S. Akhter, H. H. Kung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Decomposition of methanol-d4 was studied using temperature-programmed decomposition spectroscopy on the nonpolar flat (101̄0), stepped (505̄1) and (404̄1), and the polar (0001) ZnO surfaces. The (505̄1) and (404̄1) planes are surfaces with (0001) steps and (101̄0) terraces. CD4, CO, CO2, and D2 were the decomposition products on the nonpolar stepped and flat surfaces. The ratios of these products were similar on these surfaces. The fraction of desorbed product being decomposition products increased in the order stoichiometric (101̄0) < reduced (101̄0) < (505̄1) < (404̄1). The activity of the stepped surfaces decreased slightly after oxygen pretreatment of the surface. The results indicated that steps and anion vacancy defects are the active sites for methanol decomposition. The activity of the polar (0001) surface was similar to that of the stepped surfaces. However, the products were different. CD2O and D2O, but no CD4 were observed in addition to CO, CO2 and D2. The results indicated that methanol decomposition on ZnO is a structure-sensitive reaction. Implication of these observations on the reverse reaction of methanol synthesis on ZnO and CuZn oxide is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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