Power of Confinement: Adsorbate Dynamics on Nanometer-Scale Exposed Facets

The diffusion and arrangements of CO adsorbates within nanometer-scale pores on a copper surface are investigated by low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. In contrast to extended terraces, confinement stabilizes dislocation lines that expose more than one-fourth of the adsorbate population to potentially more reactive adsorption configurations. Confinement allows correlation between adsorbate diffusivity and the number of adsorbates in the pore. A marked increase is found that coincides with the absence of dense films on the exposed facets. In combination, we find that in confinement CO molecules are much more likely to be at adsorption sites that allow lateral access, in contrast to the dense and uniform films on extended terraces.