Enhanced Nanostructure Dynamics on Au(111) with Adsorbed Sulfur due to Au−S Complex Formation
Chemisorbed species can enhance the fluxional dynamics of nanostructured metal surfaces which has implications for applications such as catalysis. STM studies at room temperature reveal that the presence of adsorbed sulfur (S) greatly enhances the decay rate of 2D Au islands in the vicinity of extended step edges on Au(111). This enhancement is already significant at S coverages, θ S , of a few hundredths of a monolayer (ML), and is most pronounced for 0.1‐0.3 ML where the decay rate is increased by a factor of around 30. For θ S close to saturation at about 0.6 ML, sulfur induces pitting and reconstruction of the entire surface, and Au islands are stabilized. Enhanced coarsening at lower θ S is attributed to the formation and diffusion across terraces of Au‐S complexes, particularly AuS 2 and Au 4 S 4 , with some lesser contribution from Au 3 S 4 . This picture is supported by DFT analysis of complex formation energies and diffusion barriers.