Monte Carlo Investigation of Head-Tail Ordering of CO Monolayers on Graphite

        Heat capacity measurements recently showed that CO physisorbed on graphite undergoes a head-tail ordering transition at roughly 5 K. The present paper is a detailed Monte Carlo study of this phase transition and the ordered state. The simulations are based on an ab initio pair potential and rely crucially on a thorough finite-size scaling study of various quantities. In agreement with experiments we find that the transition belongs to the universality class of the Ising model in two dimensions. We go beyond experimental knowledge by revealing the particular ferrielectric structure of the ground state, and show that the transition is due to the molecule's shape asymmetry rather than to electrostatic dipole interactions. The influence of quantum fluctuations on the ground state and on the transition itself are also analyzed.

By: D. Marx, S. Sengupta (IGCAR, India), P. Nielaba (Johannes Gutenberg Univ., Germ.) and K. Binder (Johannes Gutenberg Univ., Germ.)

Published in: Surface Science, volume 321, (no 1-2), pages 195-216 in 1994

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