Nanocatalysis by the Tip of a Scanning Tunneling Microscope Operating Inside a Reactor Cell

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Science  02 Sep 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5177, pp. 1415-1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5177.1415


The platinum-rhodium tip of a scanning tunneling microscope that operates inside of an atmospheric-pressure chemical reactor cell has been used to locally rehydrogenate carbonaceous fragments deposited on the (111) surface of platinum. The carbon fragments were produced by partial dehydrogenation of propylene. The reactant gas environment inside the cell consisted of pure H2 or a 1:9 mixture of CH3CHCH2 and H2 at 300 kelvin. The platinum-rhodium tip acted as a catalyst after activation by short voltage pulses. In this active state, the clusters in the area scanned by the tip were reacted away with very high spatial resolution.

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