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Nat Commun ; 14(1): 208, 2023 Jan 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36639388


Muscovite mica, KAl2(Si3Al)O10(OH)2, is a common layered phyllosilicate with perfect cleavage planes. The atomically flat surfaces obtained through cleaving lend themselves to scanning probe techniques with atomic resolution and are ideal to model minerals and clays. Despite the importance of the cleaved mica surfaces, several questions remain unresolved. It is established that K+ ions decorate the cleaved surface, but their intrinsic ordering - unaffected by the interaction with the environment - is not known. This work presents clear images of the K+ distribution of cleaved mica obtained with low-temperature non-contact atomic force microscopy (AFM) under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions. The data unveil the presence of short-range ordering, contrasting previous assumptions of random or fully ordered distributions. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations and Monte Carlo simulations show that the substitutional subsurface Al3+ ions have an important role for the surface K+ ion arrangement.

ACS Nano ; 2022 Nov 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36449748


Clean oxide surfaces are generally hydrophilic. Water molecules anchor at undercoordinated surface metal atoms that act as Lewis acid sites, and they are stabilized by H bonds to undercoordinated surface oxygens. The large unit cell of In2O3(111) provides surface atoms in various configurations, which leads to chemical heterogeneity and a local deviation from this general rule. Experiments (TPD, XPS, nc-AFM) agree quantitatively with DFT calculations and show a series of distinct phases. The first three water molecules dissociate at one specific area of the unit cell and desorb above room temperature. The next three adsorb as molecules in the adjacent region. Three more water molecules rearrange this structure and an additional nine pile up above the OH groups. Despite offering undercoordinated In and O sites, the rest of the unit cell is unfavorable for adsorption and remains water-free. The first water layer thus shows ordering into nanoscopic 3D water clusters separated by hydrophobic pockets.

Sci Adv ; 8(33): eabq1433, 2022 Aug 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35984882


Polarizable materials attract attention in catalysis because they have a free parameter for tuning chemical reactivity. Their surfaces entangle the dielectric polarization with surface polarity, excess charge, and orbital hybridization. How this affects individual adsorbed molecules is shown for the incipient ferroelectric perovskite KTaO3. This intrinsically polar material cleaves along (001) into KO- and TaO2-terminated surface domains. At TaO2 terraces, the polarity-compensating excess electrons form a two-dimensional electron gas and can also localize by coupling to ferroelectric distortions. TaO2 terraces host two distinct types of CO molecules, adsorbed at equivalent lattice sites but charged differently as seen in atomic force microscopy/scanning tunneling microscopy. Temperature-programmed desorption shows substantially stronger binding of the charged CO; in density functional theory calculations, the excess charge favors a bipolaronic configuration coupled to the CO. These results pinpoint how adsorption states couple to ferroelectric polarization.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 61(25): e202204244, 2022 Jun 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35384213


Determination of the atomic structure of solid surfaces typically depends on comparison of measured properties with simulations based on hypothesized structural models. For simple structures, the models may be guessed, but for more complex structures there is a need for reliable theory-based search algorithms. So far, such methods have been limited by the combinatorial complexity and computational expense of sufficiently accurate energy estimation for surfaces. However, the introduction of machine learning methods has the potential to change this radically. Here, we demonstrate how an evolutionary algorithm, utilizing machine learning for accelerated energy estimation and diverse population generation, can be used to solve an unknown surface structure-the (4×4) surface oxide on Pt3 Sn(111)-based on limited experimental input. The algorithm is efficient and robust, and should be broadly applicable in surface studies, where it can replace manual, intuition based model generation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(26): 14827-14837, 2020 Jun 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32527857


Interaction of molecular oxygen with semiconducting oxide surfaces plays a key role in many technologies. The topic is difficult to approach both by experiment and in theory, mainly due to multiple stable charge states, adsorption configurations, and reaction channels of adsorbed oxygen species. Here we use a combination of noncontact atomic force microscopy (AFM) and density functional theory (DFT) to resolve [Formula: see text] adsorption on the rutile [Formula: see text](110) surface, which presents a longstanding challenge in the surface chemistry of metal oxides. We show that chemically inert AFM tips terminated by an oxygen adatom provide excellent resolution of both the adsorbed species and the oxygen sublattice of the substrate. Adsorbed [Formula: see text] molecules can accept either one or two electron polarons from the surface, forming superoxo or peroxo species. The peroxo state is energetically preferred under any conditions relevant for applications. The possibility of nonintrusive imaging allows us to explain behavior related to electron/hole injection from the tip, interaction with UV light, and the effect of thermal annealing.

Phys Rev Lett ; 122(1): 016805, 2019 Jan 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31012645


Polaron formation plays a major role in determining the structural, electrical, and chemical properties of ionic crystals. Using a combination of first-principles calculations, scanning tunneling microscopy, and atomic force microscopy, we analyze the interaction of polarons with CO molecules adsorbed on the reduced rutile TiO_{2}(110) surface. Adsorbed CO shows attractive coupling with polarons in the surface layer, and repulsive interaction with polarons in the subsurface layer. As a result, CO adsorption depends on the reduction state of the sample. For slightly reduced surfaces, many adsorption configurations with comparable adsorption energies exist and polarons reside in the subsurface layer. At strongly reduced surfaces, two adsorption configurations dominate: either inside an oxygen vacancy, or at surface Ti_{5c} sites, coupled with a surface polaron. Similar conclusions are predicted for TiO_{2}(110) surfaces containing near-surface Ti interstitials. These results show that polarons are of primary importance for understanding the performance of polar semiconductors and transition metal oxides in catalysis and energy-related applications.