The Nature of the Metal-Metal Bond in Bimetallic Surfaces

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Science  14 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5072, pp. 897-903
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5072.897


The formation of a surface metal-metal bond can produce large perturbations in the electronic, chemical, and catalytic properties of a metal. Recent studies indicate that charge transfer is an important component in surface metal-metal bonds that involve dissimilar elements. The larger the charge transfer, the stronger the cohesive energy of the bimetallic bond. On a surface, the formation of a heteronuclear metal-metal bond induces a flow of electron density toward the element with the larger fraction of empty states in its valence band. This behavior is completely contrary to that observed in bulk alloys, indicating that the nature of a heteronuclear metal-metal bond depends strongly on the structural geometry of the bimetallic system.

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