- Nonthermal phase transitions in semiconductors induced by a femtosecond extreme ultraviolet laser pulse (2013)
- Part of Focus on High Energy Density Physics. In this paper, we present a novel theoretical approach, which allows the study of nonequilibrium dynamics of both electrons and atoms/ions within free-electron laser excited semiconductors at femtosecond time scales. The approach consists of the Monte-Carlo method treating photoabsorption, high-energy-electron and core-hole kinetics and relaxation processes. Low-energy electrons localized within the valence and conduction bands of the target are treated with a temperature equation, including source terms, defined by the exchange of energy and particles with high-energy electrons and atoms. We follow the atomic motion with the molecular dynamics method on the changing potential energy surface. The changes of the potential energy surface and of the electron band structure are calculated at each time step with the help of the tight-binding method. Such a combination of methods enables investigation of nonequilibrium structural changes within materials under extreme ultraviolet (XUV) femtosecond irradiation. Our analysis performed for diamond irradiated with an XUV femtosecond laser pulse predicts for the first time in this wavelength regime the nonthermal phase transition from diamond to graphite. Similar to the case of visible light irradiation, this transition takes place within a few tens of femtoseconds and is caused by changes of the interatomic potential induced by ultrafast electronic excitations. It thus occurs well before the heating stimulated by electron–phonon coupling starts to play a role. This allows us to conclude that this transition is nonthermal and represents a general mechanism of the response of solids to ultrafast electron excitations.
- Simulation of structural and electronic properties of amorphous tungsten oxycarbides (2012)
- Electron beam-induced deposition with tungsten hexacarbonyl W(CO)6 as precursors leads to granular deposits with varying compositions of tungsten, carbon and oxygen. Depending on the deposition conditions, the deposits are insulating or metallic. We employ an evolutionary algorithm to predict the crystal structures starting from a series of chemical compositions that were determined experimentally. We show that this method leads to better structures than structural relaxation based on estimated initial structures. We approximate the expected amorphous structures by reasonably large unit cells that can accommodate local structural environments that resemble the true amorphous structure. Our predicted structures show an insulator-to-metal transition close to the experimental composition at which this transition is actually observed and they also allow comparison with experimental electron diffraction patterns.
- Spontaneous dissociation of Co2(CO)8 and autocatalytic growth of Co on SiO2: A combined experimental and theoretical investigation (2012)
- We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal–organic precursor Co2(CO)8 on SiO2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.