We have observed an etching reaction on the Al/Si(111) surface (θAl≥1) induced by the chemisorption of atomic hydrogen at low temperature (T=250–400 K). The major silicon containing product detected by temperature programmed desorption (TPD) is silane (SiH4). An approximate sixfold increase in silane production is observed in the presence of aluminum, with a decrease in the TPD peak temperature from 645 K on Si(111) to 335 K on Al/Si(111). A kinetic model is presented to explain this catalyzed etching reaction.

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