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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Nov 14;91(20):206104. Epub 2003 Nov 14.

Changing the diffusion mechanism of Ge-Si dimers on Si(001) using an electric field.

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  • 1Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA.


We change the diffusion mechanism of adsorbed Ge-Si dimers on Si(001) using the electric field of a scanning tunneling microscope tip. By comparing the measured field dependence with first-principles calculations we conclude that, in negative field, i.e., when electrons are attracted towards the vacuum, the dimer diffuses as a unit, rotating as it translates, whereas, in positive field the dimer bond is substantially stretched at the transition state as it slides along the substrate. Furthermore, the active mechanism in positive fields facilitates intermixing of Ge in the Si lattice, whereas intermixing is suppressed in negative fields.

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