Decomposition pathway for model fluorinated ethers on the clean iron surface

Mary E. Napier, Peter C. Stair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Polymeric perfluoroalkylethers (PFAE) are being considered for use as lubricants in high temperature applications, but in the presence of certain metals these molecules show enhanced decomposition. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was used to explore the pathways for decomposition of three model fluorinated ethers on clean iron surfaces. The decomposition reaction, in vacuum, was observed to proceed at remarkably low temperatures, 155 K and below, via defluorination of the carbon-oxygen backbone, with formation of iron fluoride. The reactivity of iron toward perfluoroalkylether decomposition, when compared to other metals, is due to the strength of the iron fluoride bond. The remarkably low temperature threshold for the decomposition reflects a low activation barrier for C-F scission due to the strong electron donating ability of metallic iron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2704-2708
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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