Research Highlights

Adsorption of sulfur on Si(111)

Th. Schmidt, L. Buß, M. Ewert, G. Schönhoff, T. Wehling. J. Falta

Surface Science (2020), 694, 121561

The adsorption of S on Si(111)- 7  ×  7 has been investigated for different preparation schemes and parameters. S was supplied from an electrochemical Ag2S cell. For room temperature adsorption and subsequent annealing, no ordered S induced reconstruction can be observed with spot profile analysis low-energy electron diffraction (SPALEED). S deposition at temperatures above about 400 C, however, leads to a well-ordered reconstruction. Judging from the LEED pattern, the same reconstruction was already observed by Metzner et al. [Surf. Sci. 377379 (1997) 71–74] who identified it as 4  ×  4 reconstruction. The upper temperature limit for the preparation of this superstructure depends on S flux, which is needed to compensate for desorption. Prolonged S exposure leads to surface roughening, as observed with SPALEED and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), pointing to surface etching by S. From our SPALEED data, we can conclude that the observed reconstruction is not a 4  ×  4 reconstruction, but a superstructure with a rectangular unit cell that exists in three rotational domains, as confirmed by STM. Different structural trial models have been assessed with density functional theory. Among these model structures, a configuration with dimers adsorbed on bridging sites, with a S coverage of 1 monolayer, is most likely, since it is energetically favorable and is in agreement with all experimental results.

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