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Temperature-dependent phase evolution of copper-oxide thin-films on Au(111)

Abstract : The formation of ultrathin copper oxide layers on an Au(111) surface is explored with scanning tunneling microscopy and density functional theory. Depending on the thermal treatment of as-grown Cu-O samples, a variety of thin-film morphologies is observed. Whereas 1D oxide stripes with Au[11 % 2] and Au[1 % 10] orientation emerge at 450 and 550 K annealing, respectively, a planar (2 2) Cu-O network with specific domain structure develops at higher temperature. The latter is ascribed to a Cu 3 O 2 honeycomb lattice with oxygen ions alternatingly located in surface and interface positions. Strain minimization and a thermodynamic preference for Cu-rich edges lead to the formation of structurally well-defined boundaries, delimiting either triangular, elongated or stripe-like Cu 3 O 2 domains. The low-temperature phases compirse complex arrangements of hexagonal and square Cu-O units, similar to those found in Cu 2 O(111) and (100) surfaces, respectively. The transitions between different thin-film phases are driven by Cu dissolution in the gold crystal and O 2 evaporation and therefore accompanied by a thinning of the oxide layer with increasing temperature.
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Christoph Möller, Hanna Fedderwitz, Claudine Noguera, Jacek Goniakowski, Niklas Nilius. Temperature-dependent phase evolution of copper-oxide thin-films on Au(111). Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018, 20 (8), pp.5636 - 5643. ⟨10.1039/C7CP08387D⟩. ⟨hal-01911233⟩

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