Dynamical processes at oxide surfaces studied with the virtual atomic force microscope

M. Watkins, T. Trevethan, A. L. Shluger, and L. N. Kantorovich
Phys. Rev. B 76, 245421 – Published 19 December 2007


We present the results of calculations performed to simulate the process of atomic scale imaging with the noncontact atomic force microscope that explicitly take into account thermally induced dynamical processes occurring at the surface in real time, using a different multiscale method. Two model defect systems are studied atomistically: a Pd atom adsorbed on MgO (001) which can diffuse across the surface, and a water molecule adsorbed on the CeO2 (111) surface which can rotate about an oxygen atom. Each of these processes is evolved in real time using a kinetic Monte Carlo method, while simultaneously being imaged using a virtual atomic force microscope which performs a simulation of the entire instrumentation. The results of these simulations show how dynamical processes can significantly change the contrast seen in noncontact atomic force microscope images and that mobile defects present on the surface may not be visible in the image.

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  • Received 27 July 2007


©2007 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

M. Watkins1, T. Trevethan1, A. L. Shluger1, and L. N. Kantorovich2

  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of Physics, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, United Kingdom

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Vol. 76, Iss. 24 — 15 December 2007

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