TiO2: How to prepare a good surface.

Surface Science studies use to prepare flat and clean surfaces by combining cycles of sputtering and annealing under Ultra-High Vacuum conditions. This procedure leads to large and ordered atomic terraces, as the shown in the image.

However, there are other simple methods to have single-atom  separated terraces. These could be an starting point previous to the introduction of the sample in an UHV system.  Here follows one of those.

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