Structures of defects on anatase TiO2(001) surfaces

YL Shi and HJ Sun and MC Nguyen and CZ Wang and KM Ho and WA Saidi and J Zhao, NANOSCALE, 9, 11553-11565 (2017).

DOI: 10.1039/c7nr02458d

Defects on oxide surfaces play a crucial role in surface reactivity and thus it is crucial to understand their atomic and electronic structures. The defects on anatase TiO2(001)-(1 x 4) surfaces are found to be highly reactive; however, due to the surface reconstruction, the defects exhibit a complicated character in different experiments that make it very challenging to determine their atomic structures. Here we present a systematic first-principles investigation of the defects on anatase TiO2(001)-(1 x 4) surfaces based on a global-search adaptive genetic algorithm (AGA) and density functional theory (DFT). For different Ti-O ratios, we identify the low energy defect structures, investigate their electronic structure using a hybrid functional, and map their regions of stability under realistic conditions. We successfully find novel oxygen vacancy (O-V) and Ti interstitial (Ti-ini) structures that are different from the conventional ones in terms of their charge localization, magnetic state, and their scanning-tunneling-microscopy bright-dark image signature. This provides an insight into the complex geometric and electronic structure of the surface defects, and resolves several experimental discrepancies.

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