Theoretical studies on the catalytic activity of Ag surface for the oxidation of olefins

Hiroshi Nakatsuji*, Zhen Ming Hu, Hiromi Nakai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Systematic theoretical studies for the mechanisms of the epoxidation and complete oxidation of ethylene and propylene over silver surface as well as the reactivity and the stability of oxygen species on Cu, Ag, and Au surfaces have been presented. The dipped adcluster model (DAM) combined with the ab initio Hartree-Fock (HF), second-order Møller-Plesset (MP2), and SAC/SAC-CI (symmetry-adapted cluster/configuration interaction) methods are used. These studies clarify the origin of silver as a unique effective catalyst for the epoxidation of ethylene and the different mechanisms for the oxidation of olefins over silver surface. For the epoxidation of ethylene, the superoxide O2-, which is molecularly adsorbed in bent end-on geometry on the silver surface, is the active species. The origin of the unique catalytic activity of silver for the epoxidation of ethylene is due to its ability to adsorb oxygen as the superoxide species. Such an adsorbed species cannot be stable or exist on Cu and Au surfaces. For the oxidation of propylene, both reaction mechanisms initiated by the activation of olefinic carbon and by the activation of the allyl hydrogen exist. The activation of the allyl hydrogen is the origin of the complete oxidation of some olefins over silver surface. The present results not only let us have a better understanding of the reaction mechanisms of olefins over silver surface but also supply a basic idea for the new catalyst design of the epoxidation reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-855
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Quantum Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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