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Water-mediated proton hopping on an iron oxide surface

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  • L.R. Merte, Denmark
  • G. Peng, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • ,
  • R. Bechstein
  • ,
  • F. Rieboldt, Denmark
  • C.A. Farberow, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • ,
  • Lars C. Grabow, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • W. Kudernatsch
  • ,
  • S. Wendt
  • E. Lægsgaard, Denmark
  • Manos Mavrikakis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • F. Besenbacher
The diffusion of hydrogen atoms across solid oxide surfaces is often assumed to be accelerated by the presence of water molecules. Here we present a high-resolution, high-speed scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) study of the diffusion of H atoms on an FeO thin film. STM movies directly reveal a water-mediated hydrogen diffusion mechanism on the oxide surface at temperatures between 100 and 300 kelvin. Density functional theory calculations and isotope-exchange experiments confirm the STM observations, and a proton-transfer mechanism that proceeds via an HO-like transition state is revealed. This mechanism differs from that observed previously for rutile TiO(110), where water dissociation is a key step in proton diffusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-893
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2012

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