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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 May 6;94(17):175702. Epub 2005 May 3.

Superheating and induced melting at semiconductor interfaces.

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Center for Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We present ab initio density-functional simulations of the state of several semiconductor surfaces at temperatures near the bulk melting temperatures. We find that the solid-liquid phase-transition temperature at the surface can be altered via a microscopic (single-monolayer) coating with a different lattice-matched semiconducting material. Our results show that a single-monolayer GaAs coating on a Ge(110) surface above the Ge melting temperature can dramatically reduce the diffusion coefficient of the germanium atoms, going so far as to prevent melting of the bulk layers on the 10 ps time scale. In contrast, a single-monolayer coating of Ge on a GaAs(110) surface introduces defects into the bulk and induces melting of the top layer of GaAs atoms 300 K below the GaAs melting point. To our knowledge, these calculations represent the first ab initio investigation of the superheating and induced melting phenomena.

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