Noble metal surfaces play a central role in heterogeneous catalysis. Lasers of the appropriate resonance frequency efficiently generate surface plasmons. These, in turn, may generate hot electrons, which can drive catalytic reactions at low temperatures. In this work, we demonstrate how embedding methods allow for the use of accurate ab-initio correlated wavefunction methods to describe excited-state potential energy surfaces of molecule-surface interactions. As model system, we consider the hot-electron-induced dissociation of hydrogen on Au(111), which has recently been demonstrated experimentally. We discuss merits and limitations of several different correlated wavefunction schemes. Our results show that dissociation barriers may be substantially reduced upon electron excitation and suggest a method to calculate the hot electron energies required for catalytic reactions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Potential Energy Surfaces