A new version of synchrotron-radiation-based x-ray spectroscopy, wave-length-dispersive near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure (dispersive-NEXAFS), and fast x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy have been applied to mechanistic studies on several surface catalytic reactions on platinum-group-metal surfaces. In this review, our approach using above techniques to understand the reaction mechanism and actual application studies on three well-known catalytic surface reactions, CO oxidation on Pt(111) and Pd(111), NO reduction on Rh (111) and H2O formation on Pt (111), are introduced. Spectroscopic monitoring of the progress of the surface reactions enabled us to detect reaction intermediates and analyze the reaction kinetics quantitatively which provides information on reaction order, rate constant, pre-exponential factor, activation energy and etc. Such quantitative analyses combined with scanning tunneling microscopy and kinetic Monte Carlo simulations revealed significant contribution of the adsorbate configurations and their dynamic changes to the reaction mechanisms of the above fundamental catalytic surface reactions.
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