The movement of heavy atoms on a thin carbon substrate is readily observed using a sub-ngstrom electron probe. The observed movement is consistent with an electron beam activation mechanism whereby atoms are occasionally detached from bonding sites, allowing rapid diffusion to new sites that may be quite far from the original. The bonding sites are most often observed to lie at defects, steps, and other asperities in the substrate. Formation of three-dimensional clusters can occur during diffusion of several isolated atoms. Coalescence and dissolution of larger clusters and islands both occur under varying observation conditions, but island coalescence appears most probable for islands that are greater than 2 nm in size.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aberration correction
- Atom movement