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Low-temperature activation of methane on the IrO2(110) surface

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Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pp. 299-303
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9147

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Low-temperature methane reactions

Methane is a potential feedstock for more valuable products. The strong carbon-hydrogen bonds of methane can be activated by heterogeneous catalysts but often at temperatures that make it difficult to control reactions selectively. Liang et al. show that methane, adsorbed on the stoichiometric IrO2(110) under ultrahigh-vacuum conditions, reacts with exposed iridium atoms to break the carbon-hydrogen bonds at temperatures as low as 150 K. On heating, the surface fragments react cleanly with surface oxygen to form carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water.

Science, this issue p. 299