Understanding Surface Reactivity of Amorphous Transition-Metal-Incorporated Aluminum Oxide Thin Films

Kelsey A. Stoerzinger, Lisa J. Enman, Elizabeth A. Cochran, J. Trey Diulus, Ryan T. Frederick, Kateryna Artyushkova, Ethan J. Crumlin, Gregory S. Herman, Shannon W. Boettcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The electronic structure of multimetal, amorphous oxides can be varied across a wide range of elemental compositions. Bulk properties such as conductivity, work function, and absorption can thus be tailored to suit a range of applications spanning from carrier-selective contacts to catalysis. Missing, however, is an understanding of how the surface reactivity is impacted in mixed metal-oxide amorphous films. Here we investigate the propensity of Al(1-x)M(x)Oy (M = Fe, Mn) amorphous oxide films to dissociate water into hydroxyl groups in a humid environment and find comparable hydroxylation at the low relative humidity (â0.3% RH) probed by ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In contrast, films with both Al and Fe show an increased formation of methoxy groups upon methanol exposure compared to pure Al- A nd Fe-oxide end members, indicating that the coordination environment of the amorphous oxide network impacts the acidity and redox character of surface metal and oxygen sites. These results provide guidance for the rational design of amorphous oxide layers with tailored chemical reactivity or passivity for a given application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27048-27054
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 7 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


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