In this chapter we describe how the ionic bonding present in metal oxide materials has important consequences for the adsorption of molecules at their surfaces. The chapter begins with a brief discussion of metal oxide surface structure, and explains why polarity compensation ensures that both charged cations and anions are present at many surfaces. Molecular and dissociative adsorption are described in terms of acid-base reactions, using simple concepts borrowed from solution chemistry. The importance of defects such as steps and surface oxygen vacancies are described, first in terms of increased binding strength due to the higher coordinative unsaturation of lattice atoms at these sites, and second as a source of electrons that can be transferred to adsorbates. The chapter culminates with a perspective that highlights the need for further studies to develop an understanding of hydroxylated and doped metal oxide surfaces, as well as multi-valent and ternary compounds.
Corresponding author: Gareth Parkinson (parkinson).
Users with online access to Wiley publications including Surface and Interface Science can load the chapter from the publisher.