Authors: Otero, GS; Lustemberg, PG; Prado, F; Ganduglia-Pirovano, MV

J. Phys. Chem. C. vol: 124. page: 1932-7447.
Date: JAN 9. 2020.
Doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.9b09433.

The effects of Zr doping on the stability of the CeO2(111) surface as a function of the dopant concentration and distribution, as well as on the relative stability of surface and subsurface oxygen vacancies, were studied by means of density functional theory (DFT+U) calculations. For a given Zr content, the more stable structures do not correspond to those configurations with Zr located in the topmost O-Ce-O trilayer (TL1), but in inner layers, and the stability decreases with increasing Zr concentration. For the undoped CeO2(111) surface, the preference of subsurface vacancies with next -nearest neighbor (NNN) Ce3+ configuration has earlier been predicted. For the Zr-doped surface, the formation of vacancies was studied using a surface unit cell with 2 x 2 periodicity, and it was found that the most stable configuration corresponds to the Zr atom located in the surface layer (TL1) neighboring a subsurface oxygen vacancy with NNN Ce3+, being the formation energy equal to 1.16 eV. The corresponding surface oxygen vacancy is 0.16 eV less stable. These values are by 0.73 and 0.92 eV, respectively, smaller than the corresponding ones for the pure CeO2(111) surface. Moreover, when Zr is located in TL2 the subsurface vacancy becomes by 0.10 eV less stable, compared to Zr in the TL1. The Ce3+ preference for the next-nearest neighbor cationic sites to both surface and subsurface vacancies at CeO2 (111), becomes more pronounced upon Zr doping. The results are explained in terms of Zrand vacancy-induced lattice relaxation effects..