First-principles characterization of Mg low-index surfaces: Structure, reconstructions, and surface core-level shifts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, first-principles calculations provide structural characterization of three low-index Mg surfaces - Mg(0001), Mg(1010), and Mg(1120) - and their respective surface core-level shifts (SCLSs). Inspired by the close similarities between Be and Mg surfaces, we also explore the reconstruction of Mg(1120). Through the calculation of surface energies and the use of the angular-component decomposed density of states, we show that reconstructions are likely to occur at the Mg(1120) surface, similarly to what was found earlier for Be(1120). Indeed, the surface energy of some of the explored reconstructions is slightly lower than that of the unreconstructed surface. In addition, because of lattice symmetry, the morphology of the unreconstructed surface (1120) results in a steplike zig-zag chain packing, with topmost chains supporting a resonant, quasi-one-dimensional (1D), partially filled electronic state. As the presence of partially filled quasi-1D bands is a necessary condition for Peierls-like dimerization, we verify that the undimerized surface chain remains stable with respect to it. Some of the reconstructions, namely, the 2×1 and 3×1 added row reconstructions, induce a stronger relaxation of the topmost chains, increasing the coupling with lower layers and thus significantly damping the quasi-1D character of this state. The original approach followed offers a common and general framework to identify quasi-1D bands - even in the case of resonant electronic surface states - and to meaningfully compare calculated and measured SCLSs even in the presence of multicomponent peak contributions.


  • Miha Gunde
  • L. Martin-Samos
  • Stefano De Gironcoli
  • Mattia Fanetti
  • Dmytro Orlov
  • Matjaz Valant
External organisations
  • University of Nova Gorica
  • Université Paul Sabatier
  • International School For Advanced Studies (sissa/isas)
  • University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Condensed Matter Physics
Original languageEnglish
Article number075405
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 2
Publication categoryResearch