In situ investigations were made of grain growth and grain boundary migration, using a variable-temperature scanning tunnelling microscope and a polycrystalline Au film. Atomic step resolution permitted the identification of individual grains and, thus, also of the grain boundaries. The present special thermal-drift compensated scanning tunnelling

 

microscope design made it possible to follow the same sample area over large temperature intervals. In this way, grain boundary migration and grain growth could be observed directly. In a first quantitative analysis the observed, unexpected changes in surface roughness were correlated with the evolution of the grain and grain boundary configuration.

Grains, Growth and Grooving. M.J.Rost, D.A.Quist, J.W.M.Frenken: Physical Review Letters, 2003, 91[2], 026101 (4pp)