Burrowing of nanoparticles on clean metal substrates: Surface smoothing on a nanoscale

U. Herr, K. Samwer, C. G. Zimmermann, K. Nordlund, M. Yeadon, J. M. Gibson, R. S. Averback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have investigated soft landings of Co nanoparticles on clean Cu(001) surfaces. The nanoparticles, ≈10 nm in size, were generated by dc magnetron sputtering in argon and transferred in the gas stream to an ultrahigh vacuum transmission electron microscope (TEM), where they were deposited on the thin-film substrate. The surface morphology created in this fashion exhibits a unique smoothing mechanism. The nanoparticles do not remain on the surface at temperatures as low as 600 K, but rather reorient and burrow into the substrate. By analyzing the TEM data in combination with molecular dynamics simulations, we were able to study this process in detail and to develop a model to quantify the temperature and cluster size dependence of burrowing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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