Influence of the Lattice Structure of Copper Surfaces on Ammonia Dimer Formation

Srivastava, P. and Miller, D.P. and Morgenstern, K.

Volume: 125 Pages: 24363-24370
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.1c06275
Published: 2021

The restriction imposed by the lattice structure of different surfaces is used to investigate the influence of the distance between two monomers on their ability to bind to each other. We compare the interaction of ammonia monomers at two distinct distances imposed by the surface structure of a Cu(511) high-index surface to that of a Cu(110) low-index surface using low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy, inelastic tunneling spectroscopy, and density functional theory. Frustrated translational and rotational modes, the Mulliken and Bader charge analyses, and electrostatic potential mapping indicate chemisorption of ammonia monomers on both surfaces, with their dipoles oriented perpendicular to the surface plane. At a larger intermolecular distance of around 0.51 nm on step edges of Cu(511), the monomers slightly repel each other due to electrostatic repulsion. At a shorter distance of around 0.36 nm perpendicular to the close-packed rows on Cu(110), a noticeable charge transfer between adjacent monomers indicates binding, that is, dimer formation in parallel orientation. This binding energy of the molecules compensates for the electrostatic repulsion. Our results outline how the choice of the surface structure may be utilized to alter the intermolecular interaction of solvent molecules and to enforce or suppress dimer formation. ©

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