Lepidocrocite-like structure of the TiO(2) monolayer grown on Ag(100).
ABSTRACT Titanium oxide ultrathin films were grown on Ag(100) by evaporation of titanium in an O(2) atmosphere. The growth of the oxide films was monitored by means of XPS. The Ti2p XPS spectra indicate the formation of films with a TiO(2) stoichiometry in the whole range of coverages studied here. The STM results show that titania films appear to grow as islands of uniform thickness up to the completion of the first layer. Up to the formation of one complete monolayer, a (5 × 1) LEED pattern is observed. This pattern can be interpreted as a coincidence mesh and the lattice parameters of the oxide layer are very close to those of TiO(2) films with a lepidocrocite-like structure. However, the STM images show a long-range coincidence between the periodicity of the oxide film and that of the substrate along the short side of the oxide unit cell revealing that this lattice parameter is not exactly equal to that of the substrate. Above the monolayer coverage, additional spots become visible in the LEED pattern which can be interpreted in terms of the unit cell of rutile (110). The structural determination was carried out for the monolayer of titania by means of XPD and LEED intensity analysis. The results of these investigations demonstrate that the titania monolayer has a lepidocrocite-like structure. The DFT calculations carried out for the titania monolayer show the higher stability of the lepidocrocite structure with respect to other structures derived from crystallographic planes of bulk TiO(2) phases. Moreover, these calculations allow us to determine the oxide-substrate interface energy as well as to clarify the effect of the strain on the stability of the oxide layer.