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Ordered Array of Single Adatoms with Remarkable Thermal Stability: Au/Fe3O4(001)

Zbyněk Novotný, Giacomo Argentero, Zhiming Wang, Michael Schmid, Ulrike Diebold, and Gareth S. Parkinson
Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 216103 – Published 24 May 2012
Physics logo See Synopsis: Training Catalytic Atoms to Stop Fidgeting


Gold deposited on the Fe3O4(001) surface at room temperature was studied using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). This surface forms a (2×2)R45° reconstruction, where pairs of Fe and neighboring O ions are slightly displaced laterally producing undulating rows with “narrow” and “wide” hollow sites. At low coverages, single Au adatoms adsorb exclusively at the narrow sites, with no significant sintering up to annealing temperatures of 400°C. We propose the strong site preference to be related to charge and orbital ordering within the first subsurface layer of Fe3O4(001)(2×2)R45°. Because of its high thermal stability, this could prove an ideal model system for probing the chemical reactivity of single atomic species.

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  • Received 26 March 2012


© 2012 American Physical Society


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Training Catalytic Atoms to Stop Fidgeting

Published 24 May 2012

Single atoms deposited on an iron oxide surface provide a valuable model system for studying catalysis.

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Authors & Affiliations

Zbyněk Novotný, Giacomo Argentero, Zhiming Wang, Michael Schmid, Ulrike Diebold, and Gareth S. Parkinson*

  • Institute of Applied Physics, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

  • *parkinson@iap.tuwien.ac.at

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Vol. 108, Iss. 21 — 25 May 2012

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