Abstract

Amorphous silicon is an important material, amidst a debate whether or not it is a glass. We produce amorphous Si surfaces by ion bombardment and vapor growth, and image discrete Si clusters which hop by two-state dynamics at 295K. Independent of surface preparation, these clusters have an average diameter of ∼5 atoms. Given prior results for metallic glasses, we suggest that this cluster size is a universal feature. The hopping activation free energy of 0.93±0.15eV is rather small, in agreement with a previously untested surface glass model. Hydrogenation quenches the two-state dynamics, apparently by increasing surface crystallinity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235501
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume106
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 10 2011

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amorphous silicon
glass
metallic glasses
hydrogenation
bombardment
crystallinity
free energy
activation
vapors
preparation
atoms
ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Direct imaging of two-state dynamics on the amorphous silicon surface. / Ashtekar, S.; Scott, G.; Lyding, J.; Gruebele, M.

In: Physical review letters, Vol. 106, No. 23, 235501, 10.06.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Amorphous silicon is an important material, amidst a debate whether or not it is a glass. We produce amorphous Si surfaces by ion bombardment and vapor growth, and image discrete Si clusters which hop by two-state dynamics at 295K. Independent of surface preparation, these clusters have an average diameter of ∼5 atoms. Given prior results for metallic glasses, we suggest that this cluster size is a universal feature. The hopping activation free energy of 0.93±0.15eV is rather small, in agreement with a previously untested surface glass model. Hydrogenation quenches the two-state dynamics, apparently by increasing surface crystallinity.

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