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From Langmuir to Ertl: The “Nobel” History of the Surface Science Approach to Heterogeneous Catalysis

Abstract : Heterogeneous catalysis is today one of the most important industrial processes in fabrication of chemicals. It is based on surface reactions, which calls for the adsorption of at least one of the reactants on the catalyst surface. Surface science has over the last 80 years largely contributed to the elucidation of the basic concepts, which govern heterogeneously catalyzed reactions. From the pioneering work of Irving Langmuir on surface chemistry to the latest accomplishments of Gerhard Ertl providing a deep insight on the surface chemistry of the Haber-Bosch process, both of whom were awarded the Nobel Prize, surface science has gone a long way from a purely descriptive approach to a rational design of heterogeneous catalysts. Today not only the experimental methods have reached a maturity, which allows us to visualize surface reactions on an atomic scale but also theoretical methods contribute largely to the understanding and prediction of the action of heterogeneous catalysts. Here we will focus on the basic concepts used in the surface science approach to heterogeneous, while placing them in the historical context.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 18, 2019 - 3:54:48 PM
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Conrad Becker. From Langmuir to Ertl: The “Nobel” History of the Surface Science Approach to Heterogeneous Catalysis. Encyclopedia of Interfacial Chemistry, Elsevier, pp.99-106, 2018, ⟨10.1016/B978-0-12-409547-2.13527-9⟩. ⟨hal-02319243⟩



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