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Atomic Structure of Ultrathin Erbium Silicides on Si(111)

  • M. Lohmeier (a1), W. J. Huisman (a1), G. Ter Horst (a1), P. M. Zagwijn (a1), A. Nishiyama (a2), C. L. Nicklin (a3), T. S. Turner (a4) and E. Vlieg (a1)...


The atomic structure of thin epitaxial erbium suicides on Si(111) substrates has been studied in situ by means of surface X-ray diffraction and medium-energy ion scattering. In the sub-monolayer range, a two-dimensional (2D) suicide is formed within a 1 × 1 unit cell, with the Er atoms occupying T4 sites and a Si bilayer on top which is 180° rotated with respect to the bulk (5-type). Suicide layers with a thickness of 3 monolayers exhibit a regular network of Si vacancies which release the compressive strain of the graphite-like Si layers between adjacent Er layers. This results in a √3 × √3 R 30° unit cell, in which 3 out of 5 Si atoms are displaced towards the vacancy, and in which 3 Er atoms relax away from the vacancy.



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