Spontaneous dissociation of Co 2(CO) 8 and autocatalytic growth of Co on sio 2: A combined experimental and theoretical investigation

Kaliappan Muthukumar, Harald Olaf Jeschke, Roser Valentí, Evgeniya Begun, Johannes Schwenk, Fabrizio Porrati, Michael Huth

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39 Citations (Scopus)


We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal-organic precursor Co 2(CO) 8 on SiO 2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO 2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO 2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO 2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO 2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-555
Number of pages10
JournalBeilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Co (CO)
  • Deposition
  • Dissociation
  • Ebid
  • Febid
  • Precursor Radiation-induced nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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