Surface Science

Local Au coverage as driving force for Au induced faceting of vicinal Si(0 0 1): A LEEM and XPEEM study

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Adsorption of Au at 850°C on a regular stepped 4° vicinal Si(0 0 1) surface results in a dramatic change of the step morphology: the surface decomposes into areas which are perfectly flat with a (0 0 1) orientation and (1 1 9) facets. Low energy electron microscopy shows the dynamics of the faceting process in real space while X-ray photoemission electron microscopy (XPEEM) allows a spatially resolved determination of the Au coverage at different stages of the faceting process. At a critical Au coverage of ≈1/3 ML (0 0 1) terraces are formed which extend anisotropically along the step edges of the surface. The steps in between the terraces bunch and form step bands in order to conserve the macroscopic miscut of the sample. Driving force for this morphological transformation is a complex (5 × 3.2) reconstruction formed on the (0 0 1) terraces. XPEEM shows this phase separation also for the Au coverage: on the (0 0 1) terraces the Au coverage is up to 40% higher compared to the step bands. With further increasing Au coverage the width of the Au rich terraces increases while the step bands become steeper. In a second step Au adsorbs on the step bands transforming them into well defined and smooth (1 1 9) facets. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.