Volume 78, Number 5, June 2007
Article Number 57003
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties
Published online 16 May 2007
EPL, 78 (2007) 57003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/78/57003

Evolution of a symmetry gap and synergetic quantum well states in ultrathin Ag films on Au(111) substrates

Li Huang1, 2, X. G. Gong1, E. Gergert3, F. Forster3, A. Bendounan3, F. Reinert3 and Zhenyu Zhang2, 4

1  Surface Physics Laboratory and Department of Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, P.R. China
2  Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
3  Experimentelle Physik II, Universität Würzburg, Würzburg D-97074, Germany
4  Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 37996, USA

received 19 December 2006; accepted in final form 18 April 2007; published June 2007
published online 16 May 2007

Using first-principles calculations within density functional theory (DFT) and high-resolution angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), we carry out a comprehensive study of how a symmetry gap around the Fermi level develops towards its bulk value as the thickness of Ag films grown on an Au(111) substrate increases. We show that, contrary to prevailing assumptions, the symmetry gap in ultrathin Ag films can be substantially wider than the gap of the Au substrate along the [111] direction. As a result, the first and second quantum well states (QWS) are confined within the Ag films only when the film reaches a certain thickness. We further show that, when ultrathin Au films are grown on Ag(111) slabs of comparable thicknesses, synergetic QWS spanning across the whole (Au+Ag) systems are established.

71.15.Nc - Total energy and cohesive energy calculations .
79.60.Dp - Adsorbed layers and thin films .
79.60.-i - Photoemission and photoelectron spectra .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007