Surface Crystallization in a Liquid AuSi Alloy

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Science  07 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5783, pp. 77-80
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128314

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X-ray measurements reveal a crystalline monolayer at the surface of the eutectic liquid Au82Si18, at temperatures above the alloy's melting point. Surface-induced atomic layering, the hallmark of liquid metals, is also found below the crystalline monolayer. The layering depth, however, is threefold greater than that of all liquid metals studied to date. The crystallinity of the surface monolayer is notable, considering that AuSi does not form stable bulk crystalline phases at any concentration and temperature and that no crystalline surface phase has been detected thus far in any pure liquid metal or nondilute alloy. These results are discussed in relation to recently suggested models of amorphous alloys.

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