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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Zhang G P; Hupalo M; Li M; Wang C Z; Evans J W; Tringides M C; Ho K M . 2010. Stochastic coarsening model for Pb islands on a Si(111) surface. Physical Review B. 82:165414. abstract
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Tringides M C; Hupalo M . 2010. Surface diffusion experiments with STM: equilibrium correlations and non-equilibrium low temperature growth. Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter. 22:264002. abstract
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Shen M M; Jenks C J; Evans J W; Thiel P A . 2010. Rapid decay of vacancy islands at step edges on Ag(111): step orientation dependence. Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter. 22:215002. abstract
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Lee G D; Wang C Z; Yoon E; Hwang N M; Ho K M . 2010. Reconstruction and evaporation at graphene nanoribbon edges. Physical Review B. 81:195419. abstract
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Kuntova Z; Tringides M C; Binz S M; Hupalo M; Chvoj Z . 2010. Controlling nucleation rates in nanostructures with electron confinement. Surface Science. 604:519-522. abstract
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Unal B; Belianinov A; Thiel P A; Tringides M C . 2010. Lattice expansion in islands stabilized by electron confinement: Ag on Si(111)-7x7. Physical Review B. 81:085411. abstract
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Ozer M M; Wang C Z; Zhang Z Y; Weitering H H . 2009. Quantum Size Effects in the Growth, Coarsening, and Properties of Ultra-thin Metal Films and Related Nanostructures. Journal of Low Temperature Physics. 157:221-251. abstract
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Svec M; Chab V; Tringides M C . 2009. Resolving the coverage puzzle of the Pb/Si(111)-root 7x root 3 phase. Journal of Applied Physics. 106:053501. abstract
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Hupalo M; Conrad E H; Tringides M C . 2009. Growth mechanism for epitaxial graphene on vicinal 6H-SiC(0001) surfaces: A scanning tunneling microscopy study. Physical Review B. 80:041401. abstract
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Shen M M; Liu D J; Jenks C J; Evans J W; Thiel P A . 2009. The effect of chalcogens (O, S) on coarsening of nanoislands on metal surfaces. Surface Science. 603:1486-1491. abstract
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