We present real time images of the evolution of the structure of the Si (111) surface during the deposition of cobalt at elevated temperatures, acquired using low-energy electron microscopy. The system follows a sequence of coexisting ordered and disordered phases, consistent with two-dimensional eutectic behavior. Reversible temperature driven transitions are observed between the ordered Si (111)-(7 x 7) reconstructed phase and a disordered lattice gas of Co-containing ring-clusters (RC), indicating a local equilibrium between these structures. Only irreversible temperature driven transitions from an ordered (root 7 x root 7)-RC phase to the disordered phase are observed. The nucleation and growth of stable islands, mostly CoSi2, depletes the Go-rich (root 7 x root 7) structure of Co, resulting in the formation and growth of adjacent regions of the Co-poor disordered "(1 x 1)"-RC phase. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Surface phase transitions
- Surface phase separation
- Electron microscopy
- Low-energy electron microscopy