Phase coexistence and morphology at the Si(1 1 0) surface phase transition

Waclaw Swiech, Thomas Schwarz-Selinger, David G. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use low-energy electron microscopy to study the microstructure of the '16 × 2' to (1 × 1) phase transition of Si(1 1 0). At temperatures within several degrees of Tc = 734 °C, two domains of the low temperature 16 × 2 phase coexist with the high temperature (1 × 1) phase. We demonstrate this phase coexistence through the reversibility of the areal fractions of each phase under small, ΔT ≈ 2 °C, temperature excursions near Tc. The phase-fractions respond quickly, on the order of 10 min, to these temperature excursions. The size of the 16 × 2 domains is controlled by the extent of relatively large terraces that form by the bunching of several atomic-height steps. Substrates with morphologies modified by laser texturing show how the nucleation of the low temperature domains varies with surface orientation near (1 1 0).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L599-L603
JournalSurface Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Low-energy electron microscopy (LEEM)
  • Silicon
  • Surface structure, morphology, roughness, and topography
  • Surface thermodynamics (including phase transitions)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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