The SUNCAT (SUstainable eNergy through CATalysis) Center for Interface Science and Catalysis is a partnership between SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University. The Center explores challenges associated with the atomic-scale design of catalysts for chemical transformations of interest for energy conversion and storage. By combining experimental and theoretical methods the aim is to develop a quantitative description of chemical processes at the solid-gas and solid-liquid interface. The goal is to identify the factors controlling the catalytic properties of solid surfaces and to be able to use theoretical and computational methods to tailor new catalysts.
The adsorption and desorption of a molecule on a surface is one of the most fundamental chemical processes in interfacial chemistry. It has been proposed that adsorption and desorption proceed through a “precursor” state in which a molecule is weakly bound to the surface.