An analysis of the effect of defect structures on catalytic surfaces by the boundary element technique

Anthony P. Peirce, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The boundary element (BE) technique is used to analyze the effect of defects on one-dimensional chemically active surfaces. The standard BE algorithm for diffusion is modified to include the effects of bulk desorption by making use of an asymptotic expansion technique to evaluate influences near boundaries and defect sites. An explicit time evolution scheme is proposed to treat the non-linear equations associated with defect sites. The proposed BE algorithm is shown to provide an efficient and convergent algorithm for modelling localized non-linear behavior. Since it exploits the actual Green's function of the linear diffusion-desorption process that takes place on the surface, the BE algorithm is extremely stable. The BE algorithm is applied to a number of interesting physical problems in which non-linear reactions occur at localized defects. The Lotka-Volterra system is considered in which the source, sink and predator-prey interaction terms are distributed at different defect sites in the domain and in which the defects are coupled by diffusion. This example provides a stringent test of the stability of the numerical algorithm. Marginal stability oscillations are analyzed for the Prigogine-Lefever reaction that occurs on a lattice of defects. Dissipative effects are observed for large perturbations to the marginal stability state, and rapid spatial reorganization of uniformly distributed initial perturbations is seen to take place. In another series of examples the effect of defect locations on the balance between desorptive processes on chemically active surfaces is considered. The effect of dynamic pulsing at various time-scales is considered for a one species reactive trapping model. Similar competitive behavior between neighboring defects previously observed for static adsorption levels is shown to persist for dynamic loading of the surface. The analysis of a more complex three species reaction process also provides evidence of competitive behavior between neighboring defect sites. The proposed BE algorithm is shown to provide a useful technique for analyzing the effect of defect sites on chemically active surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalSurface Science
Volume202
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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