Scanning probe microscopy investigation of gold clusters deposited on atomically flat substrates
We systematically studied the influence of the substrate on the shape, mobility, and stability of deposited gold clusters. The Aun clusters were produced in a laser vaporization source and deposited with low kinetic energy (~0.4 eV/atom) on atomically flat substrates (graphite, mica, and gold and silver films on mica) under UHV conditions. Their size distribution is probed with time-of-flight mass spectrometry and ranges from dimers to several hundreds of atoms. Scanning probe microscopy is used to characterize the deposited clusters and the formation of islands by cluster aggregation. On all substrates, Aun islands can be clearly distinguished and the islands are flattened despite the small impact energy. The shape and size of the island configurations are strongly system dependent. Gold clusters deposited on Au(111) and Ag(111) films grown on mica do not aggregate, but deform due to strong cluster-substrate interactions. The clusters tend to grow epitaxially on these surfaces. On graphite and on mica, deposited clusters do diffuse and aggregate. On the graphite surface, large ramified islands are formed by juxtaposition of small islands and trapping of the clusters at the step edges. On the other hand, the diffusion of the clusters on mica results in a total coalescence of the Aun clusters into compact islands.
Journal of Physics Condensed Matter
- Pub Date:
- October 2003