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He scattering from compact clusters and from diffusion-limited aggregates on surfaces: observable signatures of structure


The angular intensity distribution of He beams scattered from compact clusters and from diffusion limited aggregates, epitaxially grown on metal surfaces, is investigated theoretically. The purpose is two-fold: to distinguish compact cluster structures from diffusion limited aggregates, and to find observable signatures that can characterize the compact clusters at the atomic level of detail. To simplify the collision dynamics, the study is carried out in the framework of the sudden approximation, which assumes that momentum changes perpendicular to the surface are large compared with momentum transfer due to surface corrugation. The diffusion limited aggregates on which the scattering calculations were done, were generated by kinetic Monte Carlo simulations. It is demonstrated, by focusing on the example of compact Pt heptamers, that signatures of structure of compact clusters may indeed be extracted from the scattering distribution. These signatures enable both an experimental distinction between diffusion limited aggregates and compact clusters, and a determination of the cluster structure. The characteristics comprising the signatures are, to varying degrees, the rainbow, Fraunhofer, specular and constructive interference peaks, all seen in the intensity distribution. It is also shown, how the distribution of adsorbate heights above the metal surface can be obtained by an analysis of the specular peak attenuation. The results contribute to establishing He scattering as a powerful tool in the investigation of surface disorder and epitaxial growth on surfaces, alongside with STM. © 1995.

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