Heterolytic splitting of H2 and CH4 on γ-alumina as a structural probe for defect sites

Jérôme Joubert, Alain Salameh, Vincent Krakoviack, Françoise Delbecq, Philippe Sautet*, Christophe Copéret, Jean Marie Basset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


A combined use of DFT periodic calculations and spectroscopic studies (IR and solid-state NMR) shows that a γ-alumina treated at 500°C under high vacuum contains surface defects, which are very reactive toward H 2 or CH4. The reaction of H2 on defect sites occurs at low temperature (ca. 25°C) on two types of Al atoms of low coordination numbers, Alm or AlIV, to give Al IV-H and Alv-H, respectively. The amount of defects as titrated by H2 at 25 and 150°C is 0.043 and 0.069 site/nm 2, respectively, in comparison with 4 OH/nm2). In contrast, CH4 reacts selectively at 100-150°C on the most reactive AlIII sites to form the corresponding AlIV- CH3 (0.030 site/nm2). The difference of reactivity of H2 and CH4 is fully consistent with calculations (reaction and activitation energy, ΔE and ΔE).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23944-23950
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 30 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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