, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 365-377

On the use of scanning tunneling microscopy to investigate surface structure and interface formation in transition metal oxides: SrTiO3 and TiO2

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Since transition metal oxides are wide bandgap, low conductivity materials compared to conventional semiconductors, surface analysis by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) is expected to be problematic. This paper considers the factors that affect atomic scale imaging of transition metal oxides and demonstrates how STM can be exploited to examine the geometric and electronic structures of SrTiO3 and TiO2 surfaces, their variations with thermochemical history, and the mechanisms of metal/oxide interface formation. The development of periodic atomic scale surface structure with variations in surface compositions are documented for both oxides. Further, the interactions of these surfaces with metal are examined by characterizing the morphologies that develop upon deposition of Cu on SrTiO3 and Al on TiO2.