Corresponding Author

GE Qingfeng


Transition metal carbides and nitrides are attractive materials for electrodes in many electrochemical energy storage and conversion applications. In the present study, we use density functional theory slab calculations to characterize the surface chemical properties of molybdenum (Mo) and tungsten (W) carbides and nitrides, namely, Mo2C, W2C, Mo2N and W2N with the adsorption of CO, CO2 and O2. These probing molecules provide measures of in both acidity/basicity and redox property of for the surfaces of these carbides and nitrides. Our results show that Lewis basic sites were responsible for CO2 adsorption and the basicity follows followed an order of α-W2C(001) > α-W2N(001) > β-Mo2C(001) > γ-Mo2N(100). Both CO and O2 adsorption provide measures of in the reducing ability of these carbides and nitrides. The results showed a reducing ability in the order of β-W2C(100) > α-Mo2C(100) > α-W2N(001) > α-W2C(001) > β-Mo2C(001) > γ-Mo2N(100). The reducing nature of these carbides and nitrides make them good candidates to substitute noble metals in various catalytic reactions.

Graphical Abstract


Density functional theory, Transition metal carbides, Transition metal nitrides, Redox sites, Acidity/basicity.

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