ESDIADElectron Stimulated Desorption of Ion Angular Distribution
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ESDIAD shows, for example, that the phosphorus atom in the pyramidal molecule phosphorus trifluorine (PF3) does all the clinging when the molecule is adsorbed onto the surface of a single crystal of nickel; emitted fluorine ions indicate that the molecule looks like an upside-down three-legged stool with fluorine atoms flung into the air directly above nickel atoms.
In another study, the researchers used ESDIAD to prove that similarly configured ammonia molecules also spin on nickel surfaces.
Photo: With ESDIAD, the six fluorine ion beams indicate that at 85 kelvins, PF3 molecules are sitting with their fluorine atoms sticking up in the air and are oriented in two possible positions over the underlying nickel crystal (top).