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Electron-Induced Oxygen Desorption from the TiO2(011)-2×1 Surface Leads to Self-Organized Vacancies

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Science  24 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5841, pp. 1052-1056
DOI: 10.1126/science.1144787

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Abstract

When low-energy electrons strike a titanium dioxide surface, they may cause the desorption of surface oxygen. Oxygen vacancies that result from irradiating a TiO2(011)-2×1 surface with electrons with an energy of 300 electron volts were analyzed by scanning tunneling microscopy. The cross section for desorbing oxygen from the pristine surface was found to be 9 (±6) × 10–17 square centimeters, which means that the initial electronic excitation was converted into atomic motion with a probability near unity. Once an O vacancy had formed, the desorption cross sections for its nearest and next-nearest oxygen neighbors were reduced by factors of 100 and 10, respectively. This site-specific desorption probability resulted in one-dimensional arrays of oxygen vacancies.

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