Interplay between adsorbate diffusion and electron tunneling at an insulating surface

Keith McKenna, Thomas Trevethan, and Alexander Shluger
Phys. Rev. B 82, 085427 – Published 18 August 2010


We investigate electron tunneling between defects and mobile adsorbates on the surface of MgO and show that electrons can be transferred to Au and Pt atoms from defects, such as oxygen vacancies, over distances 20Å even at room temperature. As a result of the surface-mediated interaction following electron transfer, the mobility of these metal atoms is enhanced significantly. Such processes may affect the kinetics of growth and structure of adsorbed clusters and thin films and the interaction of molecules with surfaces.

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  • Received 15 July 2010


©2010 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Keith McKenna*, Thomas Trevethan, and Alexander Shluger

  • World Premier International Research Center, Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, 2-1-1, Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
  • and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom

  • *

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Vol. 82, Iss. 8 — 15 August 2010

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