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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2006 Jul 28;8(28):3326-34. Epub 2006 May 15.

Nucleation and growth of cobalt nanostructures on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite.

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Physics Department, National University of Singapore, 2 Science Drive 3, Singapore, 117542, Singapore.

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  • Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2006 Nov 21;8(43):5132.


Cobalt in the form of three-dimensional (3D) hemispherical clusters (size approximately 10-30 nm) were observed to grow on pristine graphite surfaces via a Volmer-Weber growth mode. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) reveals that these clusters are physisorbed on the surface. In the presence of minute surface contamination, the morphology of Co changes into a mixture of irregular and hemispherical three-dimensional islands. The formation of irregular islands appears to be mediated by the chemical interactions between Co and the surface contaminants as evidenced from analysis of the carbon pi-pi* transitions. Further analysis of size distribution of Co nanoclusters grown on pristine surfaces shows a critical nucleus size of i* = 1, i.e. a Co dimer forms the smallest stable cluster on a pristine graphite surface.

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