Determination of the preferred reaction pathway of acetophenone on Si(001) using photoelectron diffraction.

Laborda Lalaguna, Paula; Hedgeland, Holly; Ryan, Paul; Warschkow, Oliver; Muntwiler, Matthias; Teplyakov, Andrew; Schofield, Steven R and Duncan, David Andrew (2021). Determination of the preferred reaction pathway of acetophenone on Si(001) using photoelectron diffraction. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 33(21), article no. 214002.



The adsorption configurations of a technologically relevant model organic adsorbate on the silicon (001) surface were studied using energy scanned X-ray photoelectron diffraction (PhD). Previous work has established the existence of an interesting vertically-aligned ("flagpole") configuration, where the acetophenone attaches to Si(001) via the acetyl group carbon and oxygen atoms. DFT calculations have predicted two energetically similar variants of this structure, where the phenyl ring is orientated parallel or perpendicular to the rows of silicon dimers on this reconstructed surface. However, previously published experimental measurements, including scanning tunnelling microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure investigations were unable to distinguish between these two configurations. Here, we apply the unique experimental capabilities of the PhD technique to this system and demonstrate that the dominant adsorption configuration has the phenyl ring parallel to the dimer rows (the end-bridge structure). This information in turn facilitates the determination of the dominant reaction pathway for acetophenone on Si(001), which has remained elusive until now. Information about subtle preferences in reaction pathways that affect the alignment and orientation of organic adsorbates such as acetophenone on technologically-relevant semiconductor surfaces such as Si(001) is critical for the fabrication of future atomically-precise atomic and molecular-scale electronic devices utilising the organic-silicon interface, and this work demonstrates the unique and complementary capabilities of PhD for providing this information. [Abstract copyright: Creative Commons Attribution license.]

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