Direct observation of the phase transition between the (7 × 7) and (1 × 1) structures of clean (111) silicon surfaces

Physics Department, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Oh-okayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152, Japan
Surface Science Letters 08/1981; DOI: 10.1016/0039-6028(81)90493-3

ABSTRACT The phase transition process of clean (111) silicon surfaces between the (7 × 7) and (1 × 1) structures at about 830°C was directly observed by reflection electron microscopy, which had been briefly reported in a previous short communication (Osakabe et al., Japan. J. Appl. Phys, 19 (1980) L309). Smooth atomic steps, whose shapes change spontaneously and continually in a microscopic scale at high temperature of the (1 × 1) structure, transform into zig-zag steps at low temperature of the (7 × 7) structure, where the changes of the step shape stop. On cooling, domains of the (7 × 7) structure nucleate preferentially on upper terraces along the steps and expand on the terraces to the neighbouring steps. Out of phase boundaries with phase differences of 2πn/7 are seen to be formed. On heating the reversed process takes place. The out of phase boundaries are easy places to transform to the (1 × 1) structure. The observations clearly suggest the phase transition of the first order and the models of the (7 × 7) structure of ordered vacancies or adatoms rather than of static displacements of surface atoms.

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