We have studied two surfaces of a new Al–Pd–Zn approximant using mass spectrometry, X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). Zn is bonded weakly in this approximant, perhaps as weakly as in elemental Zn. This is based upon three observations: (1) the low vapor pressure of Zn above the approximant (detectable in the gas phase at 600 K), (2) preferential sputtering of Zn (contrary to the usual preferential sputtering of Al in Al-rich quasicrystals), and (3) preferential surface segregation of Zn. We further show that preferential segregation – and perhaps incipient evaporation – causes the surface to roughen, preventing it from forming a terrace-step morphology. Finally, our data show that at low O2 pressures, Al oxidizes. In air, Zn oxidizes as well. All results and conclusions are similar for the two-fold and pseudo-10-fold surfaces.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/patricia_thiel/5/