Stability of subsurface oxygen at Rh(111)

M. Veronica Ganduglia-Pirovano, Karsten Reuter, Matthias Scheffler
2002 Physical Review B (Condensed Matter)  
Using density-functional theory (DFT) we investigate the incorporation of oxygen directly below the Rh(111) surface. We show that oxygen incorporation will only commence after nearly completion of a dense O adlayer (\theta_tot = 1.0 monolayer) with O in the fcc on-surface sites. The experimentally suggested octahedral sub-surface site occupancy, inducing a site-switch of the on-surface species from fcc to hcp sites, is indeed found to be a rather low energy structure. Our results indicate that
more » ... t even higher coverages oxygen incorporation is followed by oxygen agglomeration in two-dimensional sub-surface islands directly below the first metal layer. Inside these islands, the metastable hcp/octahedral (on-surface/sub-surface) site combination will undergo a barrierless displacement, introducing a stacking fault of the first metal layer with respect to the underlying substrate and leading to a stable fcc/tetrahedral site occupation. We suggest that these elementary steps, namely, oxygen incorporation, aggregation into sub-surface islands and destabilization of the metal surface may be more general and precede the formation of a surface oxide at close-packed late transition metal surfaces.
doi:10.1103/physrevb.65.245426 fatcat:e2afw6qa2zdndphc76ku3wegly