Direct Observation of Chemical Bond Dynamics on Surfaces

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Science  13 Mar 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5050, pp. 1397-1403
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5050.1397


The dynamics of chemisorbed species as they swing to-and-fro on their adsorption sites may be directly observed with electron-stimulated desorption. The observation of the thermal disorder in adsorbate chemical bond directions, through studies of the thermal excitation of librational modes, allows one to visualize the potential energy surfaces controlling the structure and dynamics of adsorbates on single crystal metal and semiconductor surfaces. This information may be useful in understanding surface diffusion as well as the spatial aspects of surface chemical reactions.