Experimental Studies of Fluctuations and Transport at Solid Surfaces

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Fluctuations are used in a variety of surface systems as an experimental tool to gain insight into surface transport properties. The fluctuations of monatomic steps are studied with variable temperature STM to determine understand the kinetics of mass transport on Al-chemisorbed Si(111) surfaces. The same technique is employed to understand the kinetics of edge diffusion on Pb(111) spiral steps both in equilibrium and out of equilibrium. It also used to investigate the fluctuations of domain boundaries between structural phases of Pb on Si(111). Deterministic mass transport involved in the decay of metastable structures on Pb(111) microfacets is also investigated with variable temperature STM and the validity of the detachment-limited model of transport kinetics addressed for that system. Finally, the fluctuations in macroscopic sample resistance are used to elucidate the nature of the conduction onset in submonolayer films of Ag grown on Si(111) at low temperature. Such measurements indicate that the system is best modeled by an off-lattice percolation system and therefore the role of the substrate in the conduction onset must be minimal.