Single-molecule surface reaction by tunneling electrons

Yousoo Kim, T. Komeda, Maki Kawai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Scanning tunneling microscope images of isolated molecules of trans-2-butene (C4H8) and 1,3-butadiene (C4H6) adsorbed on the Pd(1 1 0) surface are presented at 4.7 K. The former appears as a dumbbell-shaped protrusion perpendicular to the Pd row, while the latter appears as an elliptical protrusion parallel to the Pd row. By dosing tunneling electrons, the trans-2-butene molecule is transformed into a 1,3-butadiene molecule via dehydrogenation reaction. The threshold voltage (∼365 mV) is so small that the electronic excitation to the C-H antibonding state cannot be attributed to the mechanism. Instead, we consider that the multiple excitation of C-H stretching mode by inelastically tunneled electron is responsible for the dehydrogenation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalSurface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Apr 10


  • Adsorption kinetics
  • Alkenes
  • Palladium
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Surface chemical reaction
  • Tunneling


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