PerspectiveSURFACE CHEMISTRY

Moving through the crowd

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Science  15 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6428, pp. 695-696
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw4900

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Summary

Chemical processes generally involve the transport of atoms and molecules, which on the nanoscale is dominated by diffusion. In interface chemistry, diffusion along surfaces and interfaces is an elementary and often determining step. For example, it plays a central role in crystal growth and dissolution, the deposition of thin films and nanostructures, and the self-assembly of two-dimensional organic layers. It also governs the transport of the reacting species on the surfaces of catalysts and thus the speed by which these species intermix or reach specific sites, where the catalytic reaction occurs. On page 715 of this issue, Henß et al. show that this transport can be rapid even in the presence of a layer of other adsorbants on the surface (1, 2).