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1.  Noncontact atomic force microscopy study of the spinel MgAl2O4(111) surface 
Summary
Based on high-resolution noncontact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) experiments we reveal a detailed structural model of the polar (111) surface of the insulating ternary metal oxide, MgAl2O4 (spinel). NC-AFM images reveal a 6√3×6√3R30° superstructure on the surface consisting of patches with the original oxygen-terminated MgAl2O4(111) surface interrupted by oxygen-deficient areas. These observations are in accordance with previous theoretical studies, which predict that the polarity of the surface can be compensated by removal of a certain fraction of oxygen atoms. However, instead of isolated O vacancies, it is observed that O is removed in a distinct pattern of line vacancies reflected by the underlying lattice structure. Consequently, by the creation of triangular patches in a 6√3×6√3R30° superstructure, the polar-stabilization requirements are met.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.21
PMCID: PMC3323907  PMID: 22496991
aluminium oxide; metal oxide surfaces; noncontact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM); polar surfaces; reconstructions; spinel

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