Surface Hydrogenation Reactions at the Single-Molecule Level

Satoshi Katano, Yousoo Kim, Maki Kawai, Michael Trenary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions on metal surfaces are among the most important in heterogeneous catalysis. Such reactions can be observed and characterized at the single-molecule level with low temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy (LT-STM). A brief review of such studies is presented. A specific example, the hydrogenation of methyl isocyanide to methyl aminocarbyne on the Pt(111) surface, is described in detail. This reaction was first identified in a study with reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy, a technique that averages over monolayer quantities of molecules. The example illustrates the importance of characterization of surface reactions with complementary techniques in order to properly interpret the single-molecule LT-STM images. A second example of the complementary nature of LT-STM and other surface characterization methods is the tip-induced dehydrogenation on Pt(111) of acetonitrile, the more stable isomer of methyl isocyanide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-826
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Record
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug 17
Externally publishedYes


  • acetonitrile
  • hydrogenation
  • low temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy
  • methyl isocyanide
  • single molecule surface chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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