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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Nov 3;97(18):186102. Epub 2006 Oct 31.

Clustering of chemisorbed H(D) atoms on the graphite (0001) surface due to preferential sticking.

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Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade bygn. 1520, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


We present scanning tunneling microscopy experiments and density functional theory calculations which reveal a unique mechanism for the formation of hydrogen adsorbate clusters on graphite surfaces. Our results show that diffusion of hydrogen atoms is largely inactive and that clustering is a consequence of preferential sticking into specific adsorbate structures. These surprising findings are caused by reduced or even vanishing adsorption barriers for hydrogen in the vicinity of already adsorbed H atoms on the surface and point to a possible novel route to interstellar H2 formation.

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