Molecular-dynamics simulation of the surface diffusion of N-alkanes on Pt(111)

D. Huang, P. G. Balan, Y. Chen, K. A. Fichthorn

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15 Scopus citations


In the present study, the equilibrium adsorption and the dynamics of surface diffusion in a model of ethane and n-butane on a Pt(111) surface were simulated with molecular dynamics. At low temperatures, we found that both admolecules adsorb in a specific binding site. Through analysis of the trajectories, several features of the dynamics were resolved. At low temperature, we observed that diffusion occurs through a nearest-neighbor hopping mechanism involving both lateral rotation and axial translation. At high temperatures, the admolecule makes multiple-site hops and nonlocalized long flights. The temperature dependence of the diffusion coefficients was analyzed and was found to exhibit good Arrhenius behavior. The apparent diffusion coefficients follow trends seen in related experimental studies. In the case of ethane, a comparison between the diffusion barrier measured in the molecular-dynamics simulations and the theoretical barrier predicted by transition-state theory indicates that the simulated barrier is larger than the theoretical value. This finding is consistent with conclusions in recent studies of metal-atom diffusion on metal surfaces, where it was found that systems with low corrugation exhibit a non-unique relationship between the dynamical diffusion barrier and the potential-energy-surface topology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Simulation
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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