The catalytic performance of multimetallic electrodes is often attributed to a beneficial combination of ligand, strain, and ensemble effects. Understanding the influence of the electrochemical environment on the stability of the alloy surface structure is thus a crucial component to the design of highly active and durable electrocatalysts. In this work, we study the effects of an applied voltage to electrocatalytic Pd-Au/Au(111) surface alloys in contact with a model continuum electrolyte. Using planewave density functional theory, two-dimensional cluster expansions are parameterized and used to simulate dilute Pd-Au surface alloys under electrochemical conditions via Metropolis Monte Carlo within an extended canonical ensemble. While Pd monomers are stable at all potentials considered, different extents of surface electrification are observed to promote the formation of Pd dimers and trimers, as well as clusters of Pd monomers. We find that the relative proportion of monomer, dimer, and trimer surface fractions is in good agreement with in situ scanning tunneling microscopy measurements. The further development and refinement of the approaches described herein may serve as a useful aid in the development of next-generation electrocatalysts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry