Atomic resolution imaging of ultra-thin oxide films


Snowflake defect in a Ti2O3 on Au(111) monolayer honeycomb.

We are working on a new class of hybrid material that is so thin it is both a surface and an interface. These are oxide films that are one atomic layer thick and can be imaged in the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) with atomic resolution. The structure of the films is unique to the thin film system, is not a bulk termination, and is determined through the interaction with the gold substrate. To date we have explored TiOx, NbOx, VOx, and FeOx films on Au(111) crystal substrates. The new project in this area will concentrate on ternary oxide films such as FeCrOx. These systems are of fundamental importance to understanding the effects of high temperature encapsulation of noble metal catalysts. Particular emphasis will be placed on learning about point and extended defects that occur in the films as well as investigating the properties and atomic structure of preferential molecular adsorption sites.

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