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Adatom dynamics and the surface reconstruction of Si(110) revealed using time-resolved electron microscopy

last modified Nov 02, 2018 09:46 AM

Adatom dynamics and the surface reconstruction of Si (110) revealed by time-resolved electron microscopy

Tom Furnival, Daniel Knez, Eric Schmidt, Rowan K. Leary, Gerald Kothleitner, Ferdinand Hofer, Paul D. Bristowe and Paul A. Midgley 

2nd November 2018


Surface dynamics lie at the heart of many areas of materials and chemical science, including heterogeneous catalysis, epitaxial growth, and device fabrication. Characterizing the dynamics of surface adsorption, reactions, and diffusion at the atomic scale is crucial to understanding and controlling such processes. Here, we use aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy to analyze the diffusive behavior of Pt atoms adsorbed on the Si(110) surface and characterize the effects of the electron beam on adatom motion, including a bias introduced by the raster scan of the probe. We further observe the evolution of the Si(110) surface, revealing evidence of developing surface steps attributed to the 16 × 2 surface reconstruction. These results demonstrate a framework for studying complex atomic-scale surface dynamics using aberration-corrected electron microscopy.