Surface diffusion is a subject of great importance in modern surface science. It often plays a major role in limiting a surface reaction and can be used to probe potential variation along the surface. Research in this area is, however, limited because of the lack of convenient tools. We introduce here a novel method for surface diffusion measurements. In this method, two pulsed laser beams intersecting on the surface under investigation are used to burn a monolayer grating by thermal desorption of an adsorbed molecular monolayer. Subsequently, diffraction of surface second harmonic generation (SHG) from the grating is used to detect smearing of the grating due to surface diffusion of the adsorbed molecules.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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