Sodium ion ordering on an in situ cleaved NaxCoO2 (x=0.84) surface has been studied by ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy at room temperature. Three main phases, with p(3×3), (7×7), and (2 3×2 3) hexagonal unit cells and a surface Na concentration of 1/3, 3/7, 1/2, respectively, were identified. One surprising finding is that Na trimers act as the basic building blocks that order in long range. The stability of Na trimers is attributed to the increased Na coordination with oxygen as indicated by ab initio calculations, and possibly at finite temperature by configuration entropy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)