Surface diffusion of hydrogen and CO on Rh(111): Laser-induced thermal desorption studies

E. G. Seebauer, A. C.F. Kong, L. D. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surface diffusion of hydrogen, deuterium, and CO on Rh(111) has been investigated by laser-induced thermal desorption (LITD) and compared with previous results for these species on Pt(111) and on other metals. As the coverage θ of deuterium increases from 0.02 to 0.33, the preexponential factor D0 remains constant at 8x10-2 cm2/s, but the diffusion activation energy Ediff rises from 3.7 to 4.3 kcal/mol. Ediff for hydrogen is 0.6 kcal/mol lower than for deuterium, consistent with the difference in zero-point energy. For CO, E diff = 7 kcal/mol at all coverages, but D0 rises from 10-3 to 10-2 cm2/s between θ = 0.01 and 0.40. Values of Ediff for these adsorbates vary by several orders of magnitude for surfaces on which heats of adsorption are essentially identical. These differences appear to correlate with differences in heats of adsorption in different binding states which form saddle point configurations in surface diffusion. Ediff is found to be nearly identical to the reaction activation energies for the CO and hydrogen oxidation reactions on Rh and on several other transition metal surfaces. This suggests that surface diffusion of the reducing agent may be the rate-limiting step in their bimolecular surface reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6597-6604
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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