Surface studies in ultra high vacuum

  • Alan K. Green

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


An ultra high vacuum system capable of attaining pressures of 10-12 mm Hg was used for thermal desorption experiments. The metal chosen for these experiments was tantalum because of its suitability for thermal desorption experiments and because relatively little work has been done using this metal. The gases investigated were carbon monoxide, hydrogen and ethylene. The
kinetic and thermodynamic parameters relating to the desorption reaction were calculated and the values obtained related to the reaction on the surface.
The thermal desorption reaction was not capable of supplying all the information necessary to form a complete picture of the desorption reaction. Further information was obtained by using a quadrupole mass spectrometer to analyse the desorbed species. The identification of the desorbed species combined with the value of the desorption parameters meant that possible adatom structures could be postulated.
A combination of these two techniques proved to be a very powerful tool when investigating gas-metal surface reactions and gave realistic values for the measured parameters such as the surface coverage, order of reaction, the activation energy and pre-exponential function for desorption.
Electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction were also used to investigate the effect of the gases on the metal surface.
Date of AwardOct 1975
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorS.J. Moss (Supervisor)


  • Surface studies
  • ultra high vacuum

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