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Title: Real-space characterization of reactivity towards water at the Bi2Te3 (111) surface

Surface reactivity is important in modifying the physical and chemical properties of surface-sensitive materials, such as the topological insulators. Even though many studies addressing the reactivity of topological insulators towards external gases have been reported, it is still under heavy debate whether and how the topological insulators react with H2O. Here, we employ scanning tunneling microscopy to directly probe the surface reaction of Bi2Te3 towards H2O. Surprisingly, it is found that only the top quintuple layer is reactive to H2O, resulting in a hydrated Bi bilayer as well as some Bi islands, which passivate the surface and prevent subsequent reaction. A reaction mechanism is proposed with H2Te and hydrated Bi as the products. Unexpectedly, our study indicates that the reaction with water is intrinsic and not dependent on any surface defects. Since water inevitably exists, these findings provide key information when considering the reactions of Bi2Te3 with residual gases or atmosphere.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9950; KP1704020
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physical Review B; Journal Volume: 93; Journal Issue: 23
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States