Interfacial energy exchange and reaction dynamics in collisions of gases on model organic surfaces


Molecular beam scattering experiments and molecular dynamics simulations have been combined to develop an atomic-level understanding of energy transfer, accommodation, and reactions during collisions between gases and model organic surfaces. The work highlighted in this progress report has been motivated by the scientific importance of understanding fundamental interfacial chemical reactions and the relevance of reactions on organic surfaces to many areas of environmental chemistry. The experimental investigations have been accomplished by molecular beam scattering from ω-functionalized self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold. Molecular beams provide a source of reactant molecules with precisely characterized collision energy and flux; SAMs afford control over the order, structure, and chemical nature of the surface. The details of molecular motion that affect energy exchange and scattering have been elucidated through classical-trajectory simulations of the experimental data using potential energy surfaces derived from ab initio calculations. Our investigations began by employing rare-gas scattering to explore how alkanethiol chain length and packing density, terminal group relative mass, orientation, and chemical functionality influence energy transfer and accommodation at organic surfaces. Subsequent studies of small molecule scattering dynamics provided insight into the influence of internal energy, molecular orientation, and gas-surface attractive forces in interfacial energy exchange. Building on the understanding of scattering dynamics in non-reactive systems, our work has recently explored the reaction probabilities and mechanisms for O3 and atomic fluorine in collisions with a variety of functionalized SAM surfaces. Together, this body of work has helped construct a more comprehensive understanding of reaction dynamics at organic surfaces. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Progress in Surface Science