Nano Research

Article Title

In-situ probing of thermal desorption of vapor molecules on a nanowire via work function variance


Kelvin probe microscopy, nanowires, thermal desorption, work function


ABSTRACT Nanowire sensors based on variations of their electrical properties show great potential for real-time, in situ monitoring of molecular adsorption and desorption. Although the molecular adsorption-induced change in the electronic work function is very sensitive, it does not have any specificity. However, the temperature dependency of the adsorption-induced work function variation can provide limited selectivity based on the desorption temperature. In this study, we report the in situ probing of molecular desorption by monitoring the work function variations of a single Pt nanowire as a function of temperature. The work function of a clean Pt nanowire shows a significant variation due to vapor adsorption at room temperature. Increasing the temperature of the nanowire results in a variation of the work function due to molecular desorption. Experimentally measured differential work function as a function of temperature shows desorption peaks at 36 and 44 °C for methanol and ethanol molecules respectively. Adsorption-induced variation of the Pt nanowire work function was further confirmed using ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy before and after exposure to methanol vapor. These results show that the molecular adsorption/desorption-induced variation of the work function and its temperature dependency can be used for developing nanoscale electro-calorimetric sensors.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press