The growth morphology and structure of ceria nano-islands on a stepped Au(788) surface has been investigated by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and low-energy electron diffraction (LEED). Within the concept of physical vapor deposition, different kinetic routes have been employed to design ceria-Au inverse model catalysts with different ceria nanoparticle shapes and arrangements. A two-dimensional superlattice of ceria nano-islands with a relatively narrow size distribution (5 ± 2 nm2
) has been generated on the Au(788) surface by the postoxidation method. This reflects the periodic anisotropy of the template surface and has been ascribed to the pinning of ceria clusters and thus nucleation on the fcc domains of the herringbone reconstruction on the Au terraces. In contrast, the reactive evaporation method yields ceria islands elongated in [01-1] direction, i.e.
, parallel to the step edges, with high aspect ratios (~6). Diffusion along the Au step edges of ceria clusters and their limited step crossing in conjunction with a growth front perpendicular to the step edges is tentatively proposed to control the ceria growth under reactive evaporation conditions. Both deposition recipes generate two-dimensional islands of CeO2
(111)-type O–Ce–O single and double trilayer structures for submonolayer coverages.
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