A particle, either an atom or a molecule, that has been adsorbed onto a surface (called the substrate). Basically, that means the particle has stuck to the surface. This is different from absorption, where a particle enters the bulk of the solid.

Adsorption is achieved in two major ways: physisorption and chemisorption. In physisorption, there is a weak interaction between the surface and the adsorbate, usually the van der Waals force. In chemisorption, something similar to a chemical bond forms between a surface atom and the adsorbate.

Also, molecular adsorption can either be associative, where a molecule is adsorbed as a whole, or dissociative, where the molecule is broken into parts when it is adsorbed. Usually physisorption is associative and chemisorption is dissociative.

Unfortunately, surface science gets more complicated from here...

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.