If you’re a group of physicists that published a 2006 paper in Science, “Desorption of H from Si(111) by Resonant Excitation of the Si-H Vibrational Stretch Mode,” you retract your study. Here’s the notice, from today’s Science:
In our 2006 Report, “Desorption of H from Si(111) by Resonant Excitation of the Si-H Vibrational Stretch Mode” (1), we reported resonant photodesorption of hydrogen from a Si(111) surface using tunable infrared radiation that corresponded to the Si-H vibrational stretch mode. Our recent attempts to reproduce these experiments have been unsuccessful, and the free electron laser facility at Vanderbilt, a unique light source for this experiment, has shut down, prohibiting further research. Because our conclusions are now in question, we retract the Report.
The paper has been cited 46 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Presumably, the group was trying to reproduce the findings to move the work forward. From the original paper’s conclusion:
The experimental findings reported above are unprecedented and unexpected. The precise underlying mechanism is still to be identified.
We tried contacting the corresponding author for more details, and will update with anything we hear back.
This is the third retraction in Science this month. Last week’s was a partial retraction of a 2009 XMRV-chronic fatigue syndrome study, and on September 3 the journal published a notice withdrawing a genetics paper.
Hat tip: John Fleck