Much more work has been carried out on supported gold catalysts (also called “real” catalysts) than on gold single crystal surfaces. However, for fundamental understanding of catalysis by gold, well-defined gold surfaces and controlled conditions using the surface science approach may provide useful information concerning reaction mechanisms and the nature of active centers. This paper presents a brief overview on the work carried out regarding adsorption of several small molecules on gold surfaces from 2004, date of the last review on gold surface science [R. Meyer, C. Lemire, S.K. Shaikhutdinov and H. Freund, Gold Bull., 2004, 37, 72], until recently. Both experimental and theoretical results are discussed. A large difference between the flat Au(111), by far the most studied surface, and stepped/kinked surfaces, is found, demonstrating the importance of low-coordinated Au atoms for high catalytic activity.
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