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A combined XPS/STM and TPD study of the chemisorption and reactions of methyl mercaptan at a Cu(110) surface

Carley, Albert Frederick, Davies, Philip Rosser, Jones, Rhys Vaughan, Harikumar, K. R., Roberts, Meirion Wyn and Welsby, Christopher J. 2003. A combined XPS/STM and TPD study of the chemisorption and reactions of methyl mercaptan at a Cu(110) surface. Topics in Catalysis 22 (3-4) , pp. 161-172. 10.1023/A:1023559516485

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Despite the structural similarities between methanol and methyl mercaptan (CH3SH); replacing the oxygen atom by sulfur has a profound effect on their chemistry at copper surfaces. In a combined STM, XPS and TPD study of the reaction of methyl mercaptan with clean and partially oxidised Cu(110) surfaces we have found that unlike methanol, the scission of the S-H bond (both in the presence of and in the absence of oxygen) to give adsorbed mercaptide (CH3S(a)) results in a restructuring of the surface. Low concentrations of adsorbed mercaptide (\textless 1 x 10(14) cm(-2)) result in a severe degradation of the STM image due to the high mobility of the surface adlayer. A stable surface can be regained by increasing the concentration of mercaptide or the presence of another adsorbate such as oxygen. The reconstructed surface is characterised by very narrow terraces (typically 10-15 &ANGS; wide) orientated mainly in the 1{\textless}(1)over bar{\textgreater}0 direction with a �zig-zag� structure. Higher resolution images of the terraces reveal an atomic scale structure with a c(2 x 2) unit cell, each cell containing ( in total) two bright features. The {XPS} data con. rm that mercaptide is present and show that the concentration at which islands of mercaptide become visible in the {STM} images is approximately 3 x 10(14) cm(-2): At a surface concentration of 5.1 x 10(14) cm(-2) the c(2 x 2) structure is seen to be complete, consistent with the c(2 x 2) unit cell containing two mercaptide species. On heating to 450 K the mercaptide dissociates to give chemisorbed sulfur adatoms and methane. The latter implies that the hydrogen formed when the methyl mercaptan dissociates remains chemisorbed at the surface until removed by reaction with the methyl groups. At pre-oxidised surfaces where chemisorbed hydrogen is removed as water, mercaptide decomposition leads to ethane desorption with minor methane and ethane components, the latter indicating that methyl dehydrogenation is possible at the copper surface. {STM} shows that following the decomposition of the mercaptide adlayer the copper surface regains its original structure of broad terraces (typically 100-200 Angstrom wide), although a monolayer of chemisorbed sulfur is now present. Oxygen chemisorption is completely inhibited by mercaptide concentrations of 5 x 10(14) cm(-2) but occurs at lower concentrations. The {STM} images show that the mercaptide and oxygen adsorbates form separate islands, in contrast to the coadsorption of hydrogen sulfide and oxygen. The influence of oxygen on the thermal desorption of mercaptide is discussed in the light of the structural data.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords: methyl mercaptan - sulfides - Cu(110) - surface relaxation and reconstruction - XPS - TPD - STM - scanning tunneling microscopy - alkyl thiols
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1022-5528
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2020 00:30

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