Spectromicroscopy of pulses transporting alkali metal in a surface reaction

S. Günther, Hong Liu, T. O. Menteş, A. Locatelli, R. Imbihl

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5 Scopus citations


The NO + H2 reaction on a potassium promoted Rh(110) surface is shown to sustain the formation of spatio-temporal periodic patterns leading to mass transport phenomena. The excitation of pulses and the mass transport mechanism are studied in the 10-7 and 10-6 mbar pressure range, with the potassium coverage varying between K = 0.05 and K = 0.12 ML. Using spectroscopic photoemission and spectroscopic low energy electron microscopy (SPELEEM) as well as related microprobe diffraction techniques, we show that the excitation mechanism comprises a cyclic structural transformation: K + O-coadsorbate → (2 × 1)-N → c(2 × 4)-2O,N → K + O coadsorbate. Laterally resolved spectroscopy demonstrates that potassium is accumulated in front of the nitrogen pulses, suggesting that adsorbed nitrogen acts as a diffusion barrier for potassium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8752-8764
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2013


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