High-Energy Surface X-Ray Diffraction for Fast Surface Structure Determination

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Science  30 Jan 2014:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246834

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Understanding the interaction between surfaces and their surroundings is crucial in many materials-science fields such as catalysis, corrosion, and thin-film electronics, but existing characterization methods have not been capable of fully determining the structure of surfaces during dynamic processes, such as catalytic reactions, in a reasonable time frame. We demonstrate an x-ray-diffraction–based characterization method that uses high-energy photons (85 kiloelectron volts) to provide unexpected gains in data acquisition speed by several orders of magnitude and enables structural determinations of surfaces on time scales suitable for in situ studies. We illustrate the potential of high-energy surface x-ray diffraction by determining the structure of a Pd surface in situ during catalytic CO oxidation and follow dynamic restructuring of the surface with subsecond time resolution.

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