Spatiotemporal Self-Organization in a Surface Reaction: From the Atomic to the Mesoscopic Scale

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Science  31 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5535, pp. 1635-1638
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062883

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Scanning tunneling microscopy data revealed the atomic processes in propagating reaction fronts that occur in the catalytic oxidation of hydrogen on Pt(111). The fronts were also characterized on mesoscopic length scales with respect to their velocity and width. Simulations on the basis of a reaction-diffusion model reproduce the experimental findings qualitatively well. The quantitative comparison reveals the limitations of this traditional approach to modeling spatiotemporal pattern formation in nonlinear dynamics.

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