Resolution of an ancient surface science anomaly: Work function change induced by N adsorption on W{100}

A. Michaelides, Peijun Hu, M.H. Lee, A. Alavi, D.A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For many decades it has been assumed that an adsorbate centered above a metal surface and with a net negative charge should increase the work function of the surface. However, despite their electronegativity, N adatoms on W{100} cause a significant work function decrease. Here we present a resolution of this anomaly. Using density functional theory, we demonstrate that while the N atom carries a negative charge, of overriding importance is a reduction in the surface overspill electron density into the vacuum, when that charge is engaged in bonding to the adatom. This novel interpretation is fundamentally important in the general understanding of work function changes induced by atomic adsorbates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246103/1-246103/4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume90 (24)
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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