Nucleation, growth and morphology of Co thin films on Ag(1 1 0)

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Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) experiments reveal that Co growth on Ag(1 1 0), at coverages of Co < 1 ML and low substrate temperatures (∼150 K), involves a concomitant insertion of Co into the top Ag layer and exchange of Ag out onto the surface. At 300 K, coverages of Co > 1 ML gives rise to a 3D nanocluster growth on the surface, with the clusters covered by Ag. Depending slightly on coverage, the clusters have a typical diameter of ∼3 nm and a height of ∼0.4 nm. Upon annealing to ∼500 K, major changes are observed in the morphology of the surface. STM and AES show that there is a reduction of the number of Co islands on the surface, partly due to subsurface Co cluster migration and partly due to sintering into larger clusters. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Surface Science

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