High-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy data on the reconstructed Au(111) surface are presented that give a comprehensive picture of the atomic structure, the long-range ordering, and the interaction between reconstruction and surface defects in the reconstructed surface. On the basis of the atomically resolved structure, the stacking-fault-domain model involving periodic transitions from fcc to hcp stacking of top-layer atoms is confirmed. The practically uniform contraction in the surface layer along [11¯0] indicates that the previously proposed soliton functionalisms are not correct descriptions for the fcc→hcp stacking transition. The lateral displacement of ∼0.9 Å in the (-122 20) unit cell along [112¯] is in good agreement with the transition between fcc and hcp stacking. The vertical displacement in the transition regions (0.20±0.05 Å) is largely independent of the tunneling parameters, while the atomic corrugation (0.2 Å typically, up to 1 Å) depends strongly on tunneling parameters and tip conditions.
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