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Advances in Physical Chemistry
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 907129, 18 pages
Review Article

Contrast and Synergy between Electrocatalysis and Heterogeneous Catalysis

1Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
2Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4741, USA

Received 27 May 2011; Accepted 27 July 2011

Academic Editor: Wolfgang Schmickler

Copyright © 2011 Andrzej Wieckowski and Matthew Neurock. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The advances in spectroscopy and theory that have occurred over the past two decades begin to provide detailed in situ resolution of the molecular transformations that occur at both gas/metal as well as aqueous/metal interfaces. These advances begin to allow for a more direct comparison of heterogeneous catalysis and electrocatalysis. Such comparisons become important, as many of the current energy conversion strategies involve catalytic and electrocatalytic processes that occur at fluid/solid interfaces and display very similar characteristics. Herein, we compare and contrast a few different catalytic and electrocatalytic systems to elucidate the principles that cross-cut both areas and establish characteristic differences between the two with the hope of advancing both areas.