First-principles studies of vanadia-titania catalysts: Beyond the monolayer

Andrea Vittadini, Maurizio Casarin, Mauro Sambi, Annabella Selloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Periodic density functional calculations have been used to investigate the structure and stability of epitaxial vanadium oxide films grown on the TiO 2(001) anatase surface. The formation energy of films of V 2O 5 stoichiometry, initially low, is found to rapidly increase with the film thickness, at variance to what is obtained for reduced pseudomorphic VO 2 films. This is in tune with results of oxygen-assisted molecular beam epitaxy. The oxidation of thick, viz. > 2 monolayers (ML), VO 2 films yields a c(2 × 2) reconstructed surface, in agreement with low energy electron diffraction. These films are composed by partially reduced inner V atoms in a distorted-octahedral environment, and by isolated surface dioxovanadium centers exhibiting a distorted trigonal-bipyramidal coordination, Single scattering simulations of X-ray photoelectron diffraction patterns have also been performed, taking both 2- and 3-ML surface surface-oxidized films as models. Results are in fair agreement with experiments referring to films grown in oxidizing conditions, which suggests that coherent vanadia ultrathin films could be formed in vanadia-titania catalysts. The electronic structure of the films has been finally studied, finding that the terminal oxygens carried by the surface dioxovanadium species have a strong nucleophilic character, which makes them potential active centers for selective oxidation catalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21766-21771
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 24 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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