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We report on atom-specific activation of CO oxidation on Ru(0001) via resonant X-ray excitation. We show that resonant 1s core-level excitation of atomically adsorbed oxygen in the co-adsorbed phase of CO and oxygen directly drives CO oxidation. We separate this direct resonant channel from indirectly driven oxidation via X-ray induced substrate heating. Based on density functional theory calculations, we identify the valence-excited state created by the Auger decay as the driving electronic state for direct CO oxidation. We utilized the fresh-slice multi-pulse mode at the Linac Coherent Light Source that provided time-overlapped and 30 fs delayed pairs of soft X-ray pulses and discuss the prospects of femtosecond X-ray pump X-ray spectroscopy probe, as well as X-ray two-pulse correlation measurements for fundamental investigations of chemical reactions via selective X-ray excitation.


This article was originally published in Journal of Chemical Physics, volume 347, in 2018. DOI: 10.1063/1.5044579


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