Hot Adatom Diffusion Following Oxygen Dissociation on Pd(100) and Pd(111): A First-Principles Study of the Equilibration Dynamics of Exothermic Surface Reactions

VJ Bukas and K Reuter, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 117, 146101 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.146101

We augment ab initio molecular dynamics simulations with a quantitative account of phononic dissipation to study the hyperthermal adsorbate dynamics resulting from a noninstantaneous energy dissipation during exothermic surface chemical reactions. Comparing the hot adatom diffusion ensuing O-2 dissociation over Pd(100) and Pd(111) we find experimentally accessible product end distances to form a rather misleading measure for the lifetime of this hyperthermal state. The lifetime is particularly long at Pd(111) where a random-walk-type diffusion leads only to small net displacements. A detailed phonon analysis rationalizes the slow equilibration through long-lived Rayleigh mode excitations that spatially confine the released energy within a nanoscopic "hot spot" around the impingement region.

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