Europhys. Lett.
Volume 48, Number 4, November 1999
Page(s) 442 - 448
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 September 2002
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i1999-00502-1

Europhys. Lett, 48 (4), pp. 442-448 (1999)

Orientational phase transitions in a lithium overlayer on Mo(112)

A. G. Fedorus 1, I. F. Lyuksyutov 1,3, D. Kolthoff 2, V. Koval 1
A. G. Naumovets 1 and H. Pfnür 2

1 Institute of Physics, National Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine
Prospect Nauki 46, UA-252022 Kiev, Ukraine
2 Institut für Festkörperphysik Universität Hannover
Appelstraße 2, D-30167 Hannover, Germany
3 Department of Physics, Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4242, USA

(received 28 June 1999; accepted 23 September 1999)

PACS. 68.35Rh - Phase transitions and critical phenomena.
PACS. 75.40Cx - Static properties (order parameter, static susceptibility, heat capacities, critical exponents, etc.).
PACS. 61.14Hg - Low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) and reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED).


We study the unusual behavior of the incommensurate lattice formed by Li on the anisotropic trough-like surface of Mo(112). Starting at a coverage of 0.66, we found a continuous transformation of a rectangular into an oblique unit cell. This oblique cell transforms back into a rectangular cell at coverages higher than 0.85. Both transitions are explained by an instability in the shear modulus of the layers at the respective critical coverages. It leads to the development of smectic-like fluctuations and finally to a melting transition. For the oblique phase below melting, long-range correlations along the troughs, but correlations over less than 10 lattice constants normal to the troughs are observed in experiment. The experimental results are in reasonable agreement with the theoretical model proposed.


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