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Atomically smooth stress-corrosion cleavage of a hydrogen-implanted crystal

: Moras, G.; Ciacchi, L.C.; Elsässer, C.; Gumbsch, P.; Vita, A. de


Physical review letters 105 (2010), Nr.7, Art. 075502, 4 S.
ISSN: 0031-9007
ISSN: 1079-7114
European Commission EC
FP7-NMP; 229205; ADGLASS
Fraunhofer IWM ()

We present a quantum-accurate multiscale study of how hydrogen-filled discoidal "platelet'' defects grow inside a silicon crystal. Dynamical simulations of a 10-nm-diameter platelet reveal that H-2 molecules form at its internal surfaces, diffuse, and dissociate at its perimeter, where they both induce and stabilize the breaking up of highly stressed silicon bonds. A buildup of H-2 internal pressure is neither needed for nor allowed by this stress-corrosion growth mechanism, at odds with previous models. Slow platelet growth up to micrometric sizes is predicted as a consequence, making atomically smooth crystal cleavage possible in implantation experiments.