Metal deposition on oxide surfaces usually results in adatoms, clusters, or islands of the deposited material, where defects in the surface often act as nucleation centers. Here an alternate configuration is reported. After the vapor deposition of Fe on the In2O3(111) surface at room temperature, ordered adatoms are observed with scanning tunneling microscopy. These are identical to the In adatoms that form when the sample is reduced by heating in ultrahigh vacuum. Density functional theory calculations confirm that Fe interchanges with In in the topmost layer, pushing the excess In atoms to the surface where they arrange as a well-ordered adatom array.
Corresponding author: Margareta Wagner (wagner).
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