The atomically flat Pt-skin covering the layered Pt-Ni surface was prepared using several cycles of Ar+ ion bombardment sputtering at 1 × 10−5 torr (measured sample current: 13.3 μA) for 20 min, followed by vacuum annealing at 1100 K for 5 min in an UHV chamber. The sample cleaning process was repeated until a well-defined clean surface was obtained with no contamination (for example, carbon or oxygen). The experimental measurements were then taken using STM and XPS.

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