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Research Activities > Programs > Nonequilibrium Interface and Surface Dynamics 2007

Nanoscale Pattern Formation on Metal Surfaces

CSIC Building (#406), Seminar Room 4122.
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Nanoscale Pattern Formation on Metal Surfaces

Professor Norman Bartelt

Sandia National Laboratories

Abstract:   Thin heteroepitaxial films on metals often are observed to be arranged into complicated nanometer scale patterns that can be very well ordered. In this talk I will review several examples of our efforts at Sandia Labs to quantitatively understand the pattern formation process, revealing the (often difficult-to-predict) delicate balance of the competing mechanisms. Despite the similarity of these patterns in different systems, a range of different mechanisms can be responsible for their formation. For example, sometimes the patterns are the equilibrium state of the surface (Pb/Cu), other times they are kinetic effects (Pd/Ru, Cr/W). Although the thermodynamic driving force for pattern formation is usually strain relief,
the mechanisms of strain relief can vary widely: Sometimes bulk elastic relaxations are important (Pb/Cu, Au/W), but often different, surface, relaxation mechanisms play a role (O/Pt, S/Ag/Ru, CoAg/Ru). The detail to which the pattern formation can be understood in specific systems encourages the attempt to control and use these patterns for technological applications: I will show an example of a system where knowledge of the atomistic processes of pattern formation can be used to control the position of large three dimensional surface structures (Ag/W).

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