To characterize UO 2 for its possible use in desulfurization applications, the interactions of molecular sulfur dioxide (SO 2) with a polycrystalline uranium dioxide film have been studied by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), temperature-programmed desorption (TPD), and low-energy ion scattering (LEIS). The stoichiometric, oxygen-deficient, calcium-precovered and sodium-precovered UO 2 surfaces have been characterized. The changes in oxide reactivity upon creation of oxygen vacancies and coadsorption of sodium and calcium have been studied. After creation of a reduced UO 2-x surface (x ∼ 0.44) via Ar + sputtering, the U 4f XPS spectrum shows conspicuous differences that are good indicators of the surface stoichiometry. Molecular SO x formation (x = 2-4) is observed after SO 2 deposition onto stoichiometric UO 2 and onto UO 2 precovered with small amounts (< 1 ML) of Na or Ca; complete dissociation of SO 2 is not observed. Heating leads to desorption of the SO x species and to transformation of SO 2 to SO 3 and SO 3 to SO 4. On oxygen-deficient UO 2 and on UO 2 precovered with large Na or Ca coverages (≥4 ML), both the formation of SO x species and complete dissociation of SO 2 are observed. A higher thermal stability of the sulfur components is observed on these surfaces. In all cases for which dissociation occurs, the XPS peak of atomic sulfur shows similar structure: three different binding states are observed. The reactivity of oxygen-deficient UO 2 and sodium- and calcium-precovered UO 2 (coverages ≥ 4 ML) is attributed to charge transfer into the antibonding LUMO of the adsorbed molecule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry