Dissociative adsorption of CH3X (X = Br and Cl) on a silicon(100) surface revisited by density functional theory

Chen Guang Wang, Kai Huang*, Wei Ji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


During the dissociative adsorption on a solid surface, the substrate usually participates in a passive manner to accommodate fragments produced upon the cleavage of the internal bond(s) of a (transient) molecular adsorbate. This simple picture, however, neglects the flexibility of surface atoms. Here, we report a Density Functional Theory study to revisit our early studies of the dissociative adsorption of CH3X (X = Br and Cl) on Si(100). We have identified a new reaction pathway, which involves a flip of a silicon dimer; this new pathway agrees better with experiments. For our main exemplar of CH3Br, insights have been gained using a simple model that involves a three-atom reactive center, Br-C-Si. When the silicon dimer flips, the interaction between C and Si in the Br-C-Si center is enhanced, evident in the increased energy-split of the frontier orbitals. We also examine how the dissociation dynamics of CH3Br is altered on a heterodimer (Si-Al, Si-P, and Si-Ge) in a Si(100) surface. In each case, we conclude, on the basis of computed reaction pathways, that no heterodimer flipping is involved before the system transverses the transition state to dissociative adsorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174701
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - 7 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


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