Journal of Low Temperature Physics

, Volume 139, Issue 3, pp 429-438

First online:

Early Stage Morphology of Quench Condensed Ag, Pb and Pb/Ag Hybrid Films

  • Zhenyi LongAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Brown University
  • , James M. VallesJr.Affiliated withDepartment of Physics, Brown University Email author 

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In situ Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) has been used to study the morphology of Ag, Pb and Pb/Ag bilayer films fabricated by quench condensation of the elements onto cold (T = 77 K) inert and atomically flat Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) substrates. All films are thinner than 10 nm and show a granular structure that is consistent with earlier studies of Quench condensed (QC) films. The average lateral diameter, & of the Ag grains, however, depends on whether the Ag is deposited directly on HOPG (&=13 nm) or on a Pb film consisting of a single layer of Pb grains (&=26.8 nm). In addition, the critical thickness for electrical conduction (d G ) of Pb/Ag films on inert glass substrates is substantially larger than for pure Ag films. These results are evidence that the structure of the underlying substrate exerts an influence on the size of the grains in QC films. We propose a qualitative explanation for this phenomenon.


in situ STM thin film growth quench condensed films.