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God made the bulk; the surface was invented by the devil
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Structure of the SrTiO3 (110) 3x1 surface, showing the yellow surface TiO4 tetrahedra as well as the titanium atoms (grey), oxygen (red) and strontium (green). If you put your mouse in the window you can move this image around with the mouse; right click will give more options.

Enterkin et al, A homologous series of structures on the surface of SrTiO3 (110), Nature Materials doi:10.1038/nmat2636

A collaboration between researchers at Northwestern University's Center for Catalysis and scientists at Oxford University has produced a new approach for understanding surfaces, particularly metal oxide surfaces, widely used in industry as supports for catalysts.

This knowledge of the surface layer of atoms is critical to understanding a material's overall properties. The findings were published online Feb. 14 by the journal Nature Materials.

Using a combination of advanced experimental tools coupled with theoretical calculations, the research team has shown how, using methods commonly taught to undergraduate chemistry students, one can understand how atoms are arranged on a material's surface. (These methods date back to the pioneering work of Linus Pauling and others to understand the chemical bond.)

The Nature Materials paper is titled "A homologous series of structures on the surface of SrTiO3 (110)." The authors of the paper are James A. Enterkin (first author), Arun K. Subramanian, Kenneth R. Poeppelmeier and Laurence D. Marks, from Northwestern, and Bruce C. Russell and Martin R. Castell, from Oxford.

The National Science Foundation and the Northwestern University Institute for Catalysis in Energy Processing, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science, supported the research.