Transition metal oxide surfaces : Surface structures and molecular interaction

Abstract: Metal oxides are both corrosion products and useful materials with a wide range of applications. Two of the most used metals today are iron and copper. In this thesis, surface structures and molecular interaction with surfaces of iron oxides and copper oxides are studied using spectroscopy and microscopy methods. The surface structures of iron oxides grown on the low-index iron (Fe) surfaces (100) and (110) have been studied during the initial oxidation phase. The oxidation condition for both iron surfaces was 400 °C and 1×10−6 mbar of oxygen gas. For the Fe(100)-surface, a Fe3O4(100)-film is formed beyond the oxygen adsorbate structures. For the Fe(110)-surface, a FeO(111)-film is first formed. When the FeO(111)-film grows thicker, it transforms into a Fe3O4(111)-film. The surface structures of Cu2O(100) was studied and the main finding is that the most common surface structure that previously in literature has been described to have a periodicity of (3√2×√2)R45° actually has a periodicity described by the matrix (3,0;1,1). Furthermore, the low-binding energy component in the photoelectron spectroscopy O 1s-spectrum is determined to origin from surface oxygen atoms. Sulfur dioxide, a corrosive molecule that in the environment to large share comes from human activities such as burning of fossil fuels, was studied using photoelectron spectroscopy when interacting with surfaces of iron oxide thin films and bulk Cu2O-surfaces. On the iron oxide thin film surfaces under ultra-high vacuum conditions, sulfur dioxide adsorbs partly as SO4-species and partly dissociates and forms FeS2. On the Cu2O-surfaces under ultra-high vacuum conditions, the adsorption of sulfur dioxide is non-dissociative and forms SO3-species. When interacting with near-ambient pressures of water, it is observed in the photoelectron spectroscopy S 2p-region that the sulfur from SO3-species shifts to Cu2S.

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