Five fold i-AlPdMn surface prepared under UHV by ion bombardment and annealing was so far considered to be bulk terminated. This result was substantially based on a quantitative LEED analyses . Analysis of the specular rod in a X ray diffraction experiment at grazing incidence supported this result . We present a new study of this surface by high resolution X ray diffraction at normal incidence. In this Bragg configuration the diffraction peak 18 – 29 for instance is at a photon energy of 2.873keV, the 72 – 116 reflection at 5.725keV. This results in an analyzed thickness of the sample surface of a few micrometers.
The surface was cleaned by ion bombardment. During annealing (T≅880K), we clearly observed the progressive disappearance of the initial Bragg peak characteristic of the as cast bulk sample. Conversely a new Bragg peak grows at an energy position shifted by 1eV compared to the position of the original Bragg peak. This is a clear signature for an irreversible structural transformation which takes place on at least the micron thickness. On the transformed surface, both, a LEED pattern and a RHEED pattern, characteristic for a five fold surface were easily obtained.
This high resolution experiment (the relative Bragg peak shift is 3ׁ10−4) was reproduced on samples from different initial compositions. This shows that five fold i-AlPdMn surface changes after preparation by ion bombardment and annealing at 900K on a micrometer thickness. This is not consistent with the conclusion that the surface is simply terminated by a cut of the original bulk. We conclude that a reorganization process of the quasicrystalline structure during annealing proceeds in the surface vicinity (probed depth is close to a few microns).