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Sci Rep. 2014 Apr 10;4:4627. doi: 10.1038/srep04627.

Highly efficient solid state catalysis by reconstructed (001) ceria surface.

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  • 1Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973.
  • 2Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Chimica e Farmacia, Università di Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy.
  • 3Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973.


Substrate engineering is a key factor in the synthesis of new complex materials. The substrate surface has to be conditioned in order to minimize the energy threshold for the formation of the desired phase or to enhance the catalytic activity of the substrate. The mechanism of the substrate activity, especially of technologically relevant oxide surfaces, is poorly understood. Here we design and synthesize several distinct and stable CeO2 (001) surface reconstructions which are used to grow epitaxial films of the high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O7. The film grown on the substrate having the longest, fourfold period, reconstruction exhibits a twofold increase in performance over surfaces with shorter period reconstructions. This is explained by the crossover between the nucleation site dimensions and the period of the surface reconstruction. This result opens a new avenue for catalysis mediated solid state synthesis.

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