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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Dec 31;101(26):266101.

One-dimensional defect-mediated diffusion of Si adatoms on the Si(111)-(5 x 2)-Au surface.

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


Using scanning tunneling microscopy, we determine that the one-dimensional diffusion of Si adatoms along the Si(111)-(5 x 2)-Au surface reconstruction occurs by a defect-mediated mechanism. Distinctive diffusion statistics, especially correlations between sequential adatom displacements, imply that the displacements are triggered by an interaction with a defect that is localized to the adatom. The defect is intrinsic and thermally activated. The measured diffusion statistics are modeled accurately by a Monte Carlo simulation. The measured adatom diffusion activation barrier is 1.24 +/- 0.08 eV.

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