Palladium, vapor-deposited at room temperature on a reduced SnO2(101) surface, forms one-dimensional islands, one atomic layer high, 5 Å wide, and up to 350 Å long. Scanning tunneling microscopy shows that neighboring islands do not merge. First-principles calculations reveal the atomistic processes that lead to this, for metal oxide substrates unusual, overlayer growth. Formation of 1D islands is mediated by a large anisotropy in surface diffusion, strong Pd-Sn interaction, and the lack of stable binding sites at the sides of the Pd islands. Nucleation is defect mediated, and the initial nucleation site determines the width of the resulting nanocluster.
Reprints available from U. Diebold (diebold).
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