Adsorption of oxygen on Al(111) is studied by scanning tunneling microscopy at 80 K and 300 K. After adsorption at 130-195 K, STM images taken at 80 K show pairs of oxygen adatoms with interatomic distances mainly between one and three Al interatomic spacings. This clearly shows that dissociation of the oxygen molecules results in a rather low transient mobility of the two oxygen atoms, a fact which is in contrast to previous work [H. Brune, J. Wintterlin, R.J. Behm, G. Ertl, Phys. Rev. Lett. 68 (1992) 624]. We also find evidence for oxygen atoms in a second metastable adsorption site at these temperatures. At room temperature, we find groups of two or more oxygen atoms in adjacent fcc hollow sites, but no single oxygen atoms. We therefore explain the room-temperature results by part of the oxygen pairs remaining or becoming nearest neighbors, whereas others separate by diffusion and their oxygen atoms attach to other pairs or groups, forming the larger groups found. The pairs and larger groups are stable due to an attractive interaction of oxygen atoms in adjacent fcc hollow sites.
Corresponding author: M. Schmid (schmid).
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