Domain boundary formation on
Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory, Leiden University
P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Accepted: 21 May 2002
We report observations with a variable-temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope of the spontaneous formation of domain boundaries in the missing-row reconstruction of Au(110). The domain boundaries nucleate at two different types of special sites on the surface, where steps either cross or terminate. The length distribution of the domain boundaries is described already rather well by a simple theory, which accounts not only for the formation energy of the domain boundary, but also for the change in free energy of the steps in the vicinity of the boundary. The best fit is obtained by including also elastic step-step interactions. The formation of domain boundaries on a perfect Au(110) surface forms the onset of the deconstruction transition, in which the missing-row reconstruction is destroyed.
PACS: 68.35.Md – Surface thermodynamics, surface energies / 68.35.Rh – Phase transitions and critical phenomena / 68.37.Ef – Scanning tunneling microscopy (including chemistry induced with STM)
© EDP Sciences, 2002