Indexed on: 06 Jun '03Published on: 06 Jun '03Published in: Physical review letters
At low tunneling resistance, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) images of a Rh(100) surface with adsorbed hydrogen reproducibly show protrusions in all bridge sites of the surface, leading to a naive interpretation of all bridge sites being occupied with H atoms. Using quantitative low-energy electron diffraction and temperature programmed desorption we find a much lower H coverage, with most H atoms in fourfold hollow sites. Density functional theory calculations show that the STM result is due to the influence of the tip, attracting the mobile H atoms into bridge sites. This demonstrates that STM images of highly mobile adsorbates can be strongly misleading and underlines the importance of additional analysis techniques.