Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films

Thermal roughening studied by scanning tunneling microscopy

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We have used scanning tunneling microscopy to observe the thermal roughening transition at the Ag (115) surface. For this purpose, a scanner and crystal assembly wasemployed that minimizes the lateral thermal drift of our microscope. Images were taken from room temperature, where the surface was smooth, up to 260 °C, where the surface is in the rough state. The topographs vividly demonstrate how the stepped metal surface goes through its roughening transition by the proliferation of kinks in the stepedges. The roughening temperature of Ag (115), TR, is estimated to be 78 + 20 °C. © 1990, American Vacuum Society. All rights reserved.