Periodic corner holes on the Si(111)-7×7 surface can trap silver atoms

Jacek R. Osiecki, Shozo Suto, Arunabhiram Chutia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Advancement in nanotechnology to a large extent depends on the ability to manipulate materials at the atomistic level, including positioning single atoms on the active sites of the surfaces of interest, promoting strong chemical bonding. Here, we report a long-time confinement of a single Ag atom inside a corner hole (CH) of the technologically relevant Si(111)-7×7 surface, which has comparable size as a fullerene C60 molecule with a single dangling bond at the bottom center. Experiments reveal that a set of 17 Ag atoms stays entrapped in the CH for the entire duration of experiment, 4 days and 7 h. Warming up the surface to about 150 °C degrees forces the Ag atoms out of the CH within a few minutes. The processes of entrapment and diffusion are temperature dependent. Theoretical calculations based on density functional theory support the experimental results confirming the highest adsorption energy at the CH for the Ag atom, and suggest that other elements such as Li, Na, Cu, Au, F and I may display similar behavior. The capability of atomic manipulation at room temperature makes this effect particularly attractive for building single atom devices and possibly developing new engineering and nano-manufacturing methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2973
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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