We investigated the reaction mechanism of the desorption of single hydrogen from a titanium dioxide surface excited by the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Analysis of the desorption yield, in combination with theoretical calculations, indicates the crucial role played by the applied electric field. Instead of facilitating desorption by reducing the barrier height, the applied electric field causes a reduction in the barrier width, which, when coupled with the electron excitation induced by the STM tip, leads to the tunneling desorption of the hydrogen. A significant reduction in the desorption yield was observed when deuterium was used instead of hydrogen, providing further support for the tunneling-desorption mechanism.
- scanning tunneling microscopy
- titanium dioxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)