Atomic oxygen diffusion on and desorption from amorphous silicate surfaces

Jiao He, Dapeng Jing, Gianfranco Vidali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Surface reactions involving atomic oxygen have attracted much attention in astrophysics and astrochemistry, but two of the most fundamental surface processes, desorption and diffusion, are not well understood. We studied diffusion and desorption of atomic oxygen on or from amorphous silicate surfaces under simulated interstellar conditions using a radio-frequency dissociated oxygen beam. Temperature programmed desorption (TPD) experiments were performed to study the formation of ozone from reaction of atomic and molecular oxygen deposited on the surface of a silicate. It is found that atomic oxygen begins to diffuse significantly between 40 K and 50 K. A rate equation model was used to study the surface kinetics involved in ozone formation experiments. The value of atomic oxygen desorption energy has been determined to be 152 ± 20 meV (1764 ± 232 K). The newly found atomic oxygen desorption energy, which is much higher than the well-accepted value, might explain the discrepancy in abundance of molecular oxygen in space between observations and chemical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3493-3500
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 28 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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