Temperature accelerated dynamics (TAD) with an empirical potential is used to predict diffusion mechanisms and energy barriers associated with surface diffusion of adatoms and surface vacancies on (100) SrTiO3 (STO). Specifically, Sr, O, and Ti adatoms and vacancies are investigated on each termination - SrO and TiO2 - of the SrTiO3 surface. We find that the empirical potential predicts different surface mobility of adatoms depending on the surface termination: they are mobile with relatively low diffusion barriers on the SrO-terminated surface, whereas they are largely immobile on the TiO2-terminated surface. One important finding is that, of the two binding sites on the SrO-terminated surface, one is typically very close in energy to the saddle point. Thus, one of the two sites is a good estimator of the migration energy of the adatom, a conclusion supported by select density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Motivated by this result, we calculate the migration energies for a number of metal elements on the SrO-terminated surface: Ti, Ba, La, and Al. The DFT results also reveal that the details of the migration mechanism depend on the charge state of the diffusing species and that the ability of the empirical potential to properly estimate the migration mechanism depends on the magnitude and variability of the charge transfer between the adatom and the surface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry