Determining whether metals nucleate homogeneously on graphite: A case study with copper

Date
2014-11-01
Authors
Appy, David
Thiel, Patricia
Lei, Huaping
Han, Yong
Wang, Cai-Zhuang
Tringides, Michael
Shao, Dahai
Evans, James
Kwolek, Emma
Evans, James
Thiel, Patricia
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Ames Laboratory
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Physics and Astronomy
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Chemistry
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Abstract

We observe that Cu clusters grow on surface terraces of graphite as a result of physical vapor deposition in ultrahigh vacuum. We show that the observation is incompatible with a variety of models incorporating homogeneous nucleation and calculations of atomic-scale energetics. An alternative explanation, ion-mediated heterogeneous nucleation, is proposed and validated, both with theory and experiment. This serves as a case study in identifying when and whether the simple, common observation of metal clusters on carbon-rich surfaces can be interpreted in terms of homogeneous nucleation. We describe a general approach for making system-specific and laboratory-specific predictions.

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<p>This article is from <em>Physical Review B</em> 90 (2014): 195406, doi: <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.90.195406" target="_blank">10.1103/PhysRevB.90.195406</a>. Posted with permission.</p>
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The Ames Laboratory, Physics and Astronomy, Materials Science and Engineering
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