The (001) surfaces of cleaved Sr3Ru2O7 and Sr2RuO4 samples were investigated using low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and density functional theory calculations. Intrinsic defects are not created during cleaving. This experimental observation is consistent with calculations, where the formation energy for a Sr and O vacancy, 4.19 eV and 3.81 eV, respectively, is significantly larger than that required to cleave the crystal, 1.11 eV/(1 × 1) unit cell. Surface oxygen vacancies can be created through electron bombardment, however, and their appearance is shown to vary strongly with the imaging conditions. Point defects observed on as-cleaved surfaces result from bulk impurities and adsorption from the residual gas.
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Corresponding author: Ulrike Diebold (diebold).