Full real-space analysis of a dodecagonal quasicrystal

Acta Crystallogr A Found Adv. 2019 Mar 1;75(Pt 2):307-313. doi: 10.1107/S2053273319000056. Epub 2019 Feb 28.


The atomically resolved real-space structure of a long-range-ordered dodecagonal quasicrystal is determined based on scanning tunnelling microscopy. For the BaTiO3-derived oxide quasicrystal which spontaneously forms on a Pt(111) surface, 8100 atomic positions have been determined and are compared with an ideal Niizeki-Gähler tiling. Although the Niizeki-Gähler tiling has a complex three-element structure, the abundance of the triangle, square and rhomb tiling elements in the experimental data closely resembles the ideal frequencies. Similarly, the frequencies of all possible next-neighbour tiling combinations are, within the experimental uncertainty, identical to the ideal tiling. The angular and orientational distributions of all individual tiling elements show the characteristics of the dodecagonal quasicrystal. In contrast, the analysis of the orientation of characteristic and more complex tiling combinations indicates the partial decomposition of the quasicrystal into small patches with locally reduced symmetry. These, however, preserve the long-range quasicrystal coherence. The symmetry reduction from dodecagonal to sixfold is assigned to local interaction with the threefold substrate. It leads to atomic flips which preserve the number of quasicrystal tiling elements.

Keywords: 2D oxide quasicrystal; BaTiO3 on Pt(111); dodecagonal tiling; scanning tunnelling microscopy; statistical analysis.