Surface Structures Far-from-Equilibrium


Project Leader(s):
Michael Tringides

Principal Investigators:
Kai-Ming Ho, Myron Hupalo, Patricia Thiel, Michael Tringides, Cai-Zhuang Wang


This project focuses on low dimensional surface structures (ultrathin metallic films, islands, wires, etc.), especially in systems exhibiting quantum size effects (QSE). Since such structures are metastable and grown far from equilibrium, it is important to identify the optimal kinetic pathways. In turn, this requires a better understanding of many atomistic processes (e.g. surface diffusion, nucleation, coarsening) that define the kinetic pathway. In addition the properties of the grown structures (e.g. band structure, density-of-states) depend on the structure dimensions. This opens the possibility to control their potential uses in chemical reactivity and energy storage.

This interdisciplinary effort (physics, chemistry) is built upon a close interaction between theorists (Wang, Ho) and experimentalists (Tringides, Thiel, Hupalo). The scientists with the project have a strong background in film growth, coarsening, diffusion, nucleation, and overlayer structure analysis.

This projects objectives include:

  • Kinetics of growth. Certain systems with QSE exhibit anomalously fast aggregation kinetics, i.e. deposited atoms assemble very quickly into islands. We study and model the “window” in temperature and coverage parameter space where QSE-driven self organization is possible. These data are modeled to extract the controlling barriers. This understanding will be used to search for other systems where height uniformity exists.
  • QSE and chemisorption. We test the effect of QSE on chemisorption in several systems, using both experiment (STM/STS, XPS, HRLEED) and theory. These systems include oxygen and hydrocarbons on Ag nanostructures on Si(111); and oxygen and hydrogen on Pb and Mg nanostructures.


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Belianinov A; Unal B; Ho K M; Wang C Z; Evans J W; Tringides M C; Thiel P A . 2011. Nucleation and growth of Ag islands on the (root 3 x root 3)R30 degrees phase of Ag on Si(111). Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter. 23:265002. abstract
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Liu X J; Wang C Z; Yao Y X; Lu W C; Hupalo M; Tringides M C; Ho K M . 2011. Bonding and charge transfer by metal adatom adsorption on graphene. Physical Review B. 83:235411. abstract
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Chvoj Z; Tringides M C; Chromcova Z . 2011. 2D nucleation limited by slow diffusion. Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter. 23:215307. abstract
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Yakes M; Tringides M C . 2011. Probing the Buried Pb/Si(111) Interface with SPA LEED and STM on Si(111)-Pb alpha root 3x root 3. Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 115:7096-7104. abstract
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Hupalo M; Liu X J; Wang C Z; Lu W C; Yao Y X; Ho K M; Tringides M C . 2011. Metal Nanostructure Formation on Graphene: Weak versus Strong Bonding. Advanced Materials. 23:2082-2087. abstract
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Hupalo M; Binz S; Tringides M C . 2011. Strong metal adatom-substrate interaction of Gd and Fe with graphene. Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter. 23:045005. abstract
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Liu X J; Wang C Z; Hupalo M; Yao Y X; Tringides M C; Lu W C; Ho K M . 2010. Adsorption and growth morphology of rare-earth metals on graphene studied by ab initio calculations and scanning tunneling microscopy. Physical Review B. 82:245408. abstract
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Belianinov A; Unal B; Lu N; Ji M; Ho K M; Wang C Z; Tringides M C; Thiel P A . 2010. Islands and holes as measures of mass balance in growth of the (root 3x root 3)R30 degrees phase of Ag on Si(111). Physical Review B. 82:245413. abstract
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Li X P; Lu W C; Wang C Z; Ho K M . 2010. Structures of Pb-n (n=21-30) clusters from first-principles calculations. Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter. 22:465501. abstract
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Li X P; Zhang W; Lu W C; Wang C Z; Ho K M . 2010. Fragmentation Behavior and Ionization Potentials of Lead Clusters Pb-n(n <= 30). Chemical Research in Chinese Universities. 26:996-1001. abstract
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