The influence of high-energy (1.6 MeV) Ar2+ irradiation on the interfacial interaction between cerium oxide thin films (∼15 nm) with a SiO2/Si substrate is investigated using transmission electron microscopy, ultrahigh vacuum x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and a carbon monoxide (CO) oxidation catalytic reaction using ambient pressure XPS. The combination of these methods allows probing the dynamics of vacancy generation and its relation to chemical interactions at the CeO2/SiO2/Si interface. The results suggest that irradiation causes amorphization of some portion of CeO2 at the CeO2/SiO2/Si interface and creates oxygen vacancies due to the formation of Ce2O3 at room temperature. The subsequent ultra-high-vacuum annealing of irradiated films increases the concentration of Ce2O3 with the simultaneous growth of the SiO2 layer. Interactions with CO molecules result in an additional reduction of cerium and promote the transition of Ce2O3 to a silicate compound. Thermal annealing of thin films exposed to oxygen or carbon monoxide shows that the silicate phase is highly stabile even at 450 °C.
Irradiation-induced reactions at the CeO2/SiO2/Si interface
Note: This article is part of the JCP Special Topic on Oxide Chemistry and Catalysis.
Pitambar Sapkota, Ani Aprahamian, Kwong Yu Chan, Bryce Frentz, Kevin T. Macon, Sylwia Ptasinska, Daniel Robertson, Khachatur Manukyan; Irradiation-induced reactions at the CeO2/SiO2/Si interface. J. Chem. Phys. 14 March 2020; 152 (10): 104704. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5142619
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