During radiative melting, a silicon surface breaks up into coexisting solid
and liquid regions with spacing dependent on incident flux, thermal
parameters, and crystalline properties of the sample. The space-averaged
reflectivity becomes a function of the incident photon flux, profoundly
affecting the transfer of energy and the rate of melting.
We explain time evolution of the molten surface morphology and present data
relating depth of melting to the incident photon flux for bulk Si and Si
with buried oxide. The data prove the existence of a steady state transition
region in which meltingis only superficial and time-independent.