Motion of Gold Atoms on Carbon in the Aberration Corrected STEM

The movement of heavy atoms on a thin carbon substrate is readily observed using a sub-Angstrom electron probe. The observed movement is consistent with an electron beam activation mechanism whereby atoms are occasionally detached from bonding sites, allowing rapid diffusion to new sites which may be quite far from the original. The bonding sites are most often observed to lie at defects, steps and other asperities in the substrate. Formation of three dimensional clusters can occur during diffusion of several isolated atoms. Coalescence and dissolution of larger clusters and islands both occur under varying observation conditions, but island coalescence appears most probable for islands which are >2 nm in size.

By: Philip E. Batson

Published in: , volume 14, (no 1), pages 89-97 in 2008

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