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Title: Surface structure of coherently strained ceria ultrathin films

Cerium oxide, or ceria, is an important material for solid oxide fuel cells and water splitting devices. Although the ceria surface is active in catalytic and electrochemical reactions, how its catalytic properties are affected by the surface structure under operating conditions is far from understood. We investigate the structure of the coherently strained CeO 2 ultrathin films on yttria-stabilized zirconia (001) single crystals by specular synchrotron x-ray diffraction (XRD) under oxidizing conditions as a first step to study the surface structure in situ. An excellent agreement between the experiment data and the model is achieved by using a “stacks and islands” model that has a two-component roughness. One component is due to the tiny clusters of nanometer scale in lateral dimensions on each terrace, while the other component is due to slightly different CeO 2 thickness that span over hundreds of nanometers on neighboring terraces. We attribute the nonuniform thickness to step depairing during the thin film deposition that is supported by the surface morphology results on the microscopic level. Importantly, our model also shows that the polarity of the ceria surface is removed by a half monolayer surface coverage of oxygen. In conclusion, the successful resolution of the ceriamore » surface structure using in situ specular synchrotron XRD paves the way to study the structural evolution of ceria as a fuel cell electrode under catalytically relevant temperatures and gas pressures.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  2. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  3. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
  4. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515; AC04-94AL85000
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review B
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 94; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9950
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1332028