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Can a silver atom be physisorbed to its surface?

  1. Aug 20, 2015 #1
    Hi all,

    If there is activation energy for chemisorption, then an atom with insufficient energy to overcome that barrier will remain physisorbed to the surface via van der Waals forces. I would like to further understand this activation energy in terms of, for example, the overlap of electron wavefunctions that repels a metal atom from the surface, until eventually these electrons are forced to higher energy levels and become delocalized (… if that’s how it works to begin with). Would that mean a fraction of the surface atoms are chemisorbed, and the remaining fraction is physisorbed? What is the strength of this activation energy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2015 #2


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    You say, "silver." On a silver surface? It's going to depend upon the history of the surface plus ... ?
  4. Aug 20, 2015 #3
    It doesn't have to be silver, it was just an example. My question is for the interaction of an atom with its condensed solid phase, specifically for metals.
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