Andrew J. Gellman, Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
One of the key contributions of surface science to the discipline of catalysis has been the understanding of selectivity in catalytic surface chemistry. The key feature of surface science methodologies that leads to this contribution is the ability to isolate and study elementary chemical reaction steps occurring on single crystal surfaces. These are two independently important attribute of the surface science method. The ability to isolate and then study the kinetics of elementary steps, decouples their kinetics from those of the overall mechanism of which they are part. The use of single crystal surfaces provides homogeneous environments in which the kinetics are not masked by the influence of surface structure. The impact of these aspects of surface chemistry will be illustrated by three examples: study of transition states to elementary catalytic reaction steps, the study of conformational effects in the desorption of large molecules from surfaces and the observations of enantioselectivity in reactions of chiral molecules with chiral surfaces.