Infoscience

Review

Thermal dynamics at surfaces

The present paper describes what happens at the surface of a crystal as its temperature steadily increases from zero Kelvin close to the bulk melting temperature. We treat thermal motion, such as the diffusion of individual adatoms establishing mass transport, the formation of adatom or vacancy gases coexisting with islands or steps of the condensed phase, surface phonons and the anharmonicity of the surface potential being markedly different from the one in bulk, as well as thermally induced reconstructions, surface roughening, and finally surface melting, which usually well precedes bulk melting. The paper intends to give an overview with references to the original and review literature.

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