The reactivity of a Pd monolayer epitaxially grown on Ru(0001) toward O2 has been investigated by molecular beam techniques. O2 initial sticking coefficients were determined using the King and Wells method in the incident energy range of 40–450 meV and for sample temperatures of 100 K and 300 K, and compared to the corresponding values measured on the clean Ru(0001) and Pd(111) surfaces. In contrast to the high reactivity shown by Ru(0001) at 100 K, the Pd/Ru(0001) system exhibits a monotonic decrease in the sticking probability of O2 as a function of normal incident energy. At room temperature, the system was found to be inert. Thermal desorption measurements show that O2 is adsorbed molecularly at 100 K. A completely different behaviour has been measured for the Pd0.95Ru0.05/Ru(0001) surface alloy. On this surface, the O2 sticking probability increases with incident energy and resembles the one observed on the clean Ru(0001) surface, even at 300 K. Thermal desorption measurements point to dissociative adsorption of O2 in this system. Both the charge transfer from the Pd to the Ru substrate and the compressive strain on the Pd monolayer contribute to decrease in the reactivity of the Pd/Ru(0001) system well below those of both Ru(0001) and Pd(111).

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