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(a) A schematic of steps and kinks on the Si (111) vicinal surface and definition of the kink-up and kink-down current directions. (b) The STM image of the as-cleaned vicinal surface with a 1° polar miscut towards the direction and the azimuthal miscut after flash cleaning followed by quenching to room temperature. The area and the sample bias voltage are and , respectively. The derivative of the topography is shown to emphasize the step edges. Each dark line is a single step descending from left to right.
STM images after long annealing ( for ) by dc current in the kink-up [(a), ] and kink-down [(b)] directions, respectively. The kink-up current forms the straight-step region (a) at the expense of the kink-bunched region , which is away in step length. The kink-down current dispersed the kinks uniformly as shown in (b) over millimeter lengths. The derivative of the topography, recorded with the bias voltage of , is shown to emphasize the step edges. Each dark line is a single step descending from left to right.
A schematic illustration of kink movements during annealing at , which explains the current direction dependence of the kink-redistribution observed in Fig. 2. (a), (b) The straight-edge broadening mechanism with the kink-up current. (c), (d) The uniform distribution of kinks with the kink-down current. Refer to the main text for details.
Atomic structure of the atomically straight step edge after the kink-up thermal procedure. (a) A high-resolution STM image of the area shows the arrangement of adatoms. (b) A schematic illustration of (a), which is referred to as U(2,0) (Ref. 2). Adatoms of the upper and lower terraces are indicated by large and small circles, respectively. The arrow indicates the displacement of the unit cells across the step edge.
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