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Nat Mater. 2011 Nov 27;11(2):167-72. doi: 10.1038/nmat3176.

H-atom relay reactions in real space.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.

Abstract

Hydrogen bonds are the path through which protons and hydrogen atoms can be transferred between molecules. The relay mechanism, in which H-atom transfer occurs in a sequential fashion along hydrogen bonds, plays an essential role in many functional compounds. Here we use the scanning tunnelling microscope to construct and operate a test-bed for real-space observation of H-atom relay reactions at a single-molecule level. We demonstrate that the transfer of H-atoms along hydrogen-bonded chains assembled on a Cu(110) surface is controllable and reversible, and is triggered by excitation of molecular vibrations induced by inelastic tunnelling electrons. The experimental findings are rationalized by ab initio calculations for adsorption geometry, active vibrational modes and reaction pathway, to reach a detailed microscopic picture of the elementary processes.

PMID:
22120414
DOI:
10.1038/nmat3176

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