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Ni on Ni(110) Cross-Channel Adatom Diffusion

Many materials in nature are crystals. Table salt is an example of a crystal. Take a close look at a bit of salt. Upon close examination you see that it is made of little cubes.

Pure metals such as gold, silver, aluminum, platinum, copper, and nickel are crystals. In their purest form these metals are constructed in what is called a face-centered-cubic crystal.

A face-centered-cubic (fcc) crystal is formed as follows. Imagine that you have a small pile of gold atoms. In this virtual experiment, imagine that you also have a cube to which the gold atoms will stick. Now place a gold atom at each of the eight corners of the cube. At this point, we have what is called a simple-cubic crystal. Gold atoms do not like to stay in this type of arrangement. Finally, place a gold atom in the center of each of the six faces of the cube. You have formed a face-centered-cubic crystal.

We are interested in the (110) surface of the fcc lattice. This three digit numeric surface code is a shorthand notation that facilitates communication between surface scientists. Once you have built the fcc crystal the desired surface is obtained by cutting the cube as we shall see.

On the next page we build a nickel face-centered-cubic crystal and cut it to get the Ni(110) surface.

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