Study of quantum thin films : phase relationship, surface reactivity, and coherent coupling
MetadataShow full item record
When an electronic system is confined in one or more dimensions to a length scale comparable to the de Broglie wavelength, quantum confinement occurs. In metallic quantum thin films grown on semiconductor substrates, such confinement occurs between the vacuum-solid and the solid-solid interfaces, which results in the formation of distinctive quantum well states (QWS). Due to this confinement, many physical phenomena occurring in the thin metal system are totally different from the bulk system, which makes the study of quantum thin films interesting and important. In this thesis, quantum thin film studies, mainly based on the Pb/Si(111) system, were performed utilizing low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS) with a focus on three main aspects: phase relationship, surface reactivity, and coherent coupling. The Pb/Si(111) system is chosen due to its unique phase matching between the Fermi wavelength and the lattice spacing along , leading to a bi-layer quantum oscillation in many physical properties, including the surface energy and the work function. Surprisingly, STM/STS measurement revealed that quantum oscillations of work function and surface energy have identical phase, in contrast to a theoretically predicted 1/4 wavelength phase shift in the phase relationship. Here, a new solution to this puzzle is provided. Furthermore, it is found out that the oxidation rate of Pb/Si(111) system is greatly enhanced in the presence of atomic scale catalyst -- Cs substitutional atoms, while the reactivity to CO is saturated after the initial enhanced nucleation. Finally, by inserting thin Ag layers in between Pb/Si(111) system, the coherent coupling of double quantum wells (a Pb quantum well and a Ag quantum well) are probed, where combined QWS features are observed by STS measurement. The growth mechanism of these heterostructures -- Pb/Ag/Si(111) -- is also investigated.