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  • Jansson, V.; Baibuz, E.; Djurabekova, F. (2016)
    Sharp nanoscale tips on the metal surfaces of electrodes enhance locally applied electric fields. Strongly enhanced electric fields trigger electron field emission and atom evaporation from the apexes of nanotips. Together, these processes may explain electric discharges in the form of small local arcs observed near metal surfaces in the presence of electric fields, even in ultra-high vacuum conditions. In the present work, we investigate the stability of nanoscale tips by means of computer simulations of surface diffusion processes on copper, the main material used in high-voltage electronics. We study the stability and lifetime of thin copper (Cu) surface nanotips at different temperatures in terms of diffusion processes. For this purpose we have developed a surface kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) model where the jump processes are described by tabulated precalculated energy barriers. We show that tall surface features with high aspect ratios can be fairly stable at room temperature. However, the stability was found to depend strongly on the temperature: 13 nm nanotips with the major axes in the <110 > crystallographic directions were found to flatten down to half of the original height in less than 100 ns at temperatures close to the melting point, whereas no significant change in the height of these nanotips was observed after 10 mu s at room temperature. Moreover, the nanotips built up along the <110 > crystallographic directions were found to be significantly more stable than those oriented in the <100 > or <111 > crystallographic directions. The proposed KMC model has been found to be well-suited for simulating atomic surface processes and was validated against molecular dynamics simulation results via the comparison of the flattening times obtained by both methods. We also note that the KMC simulations were two orders of magnitude computationally faster than the corresponding molecular dynamics calculations.
  • Baibuz, Ekaterina; Vigonski, Simon; Lahtinen, Jyri; Zhao, Junlei; Jansson, Ville; Zadin, Vahur; Djurabekova, Flyura (2018)
    Abstract Atomistic rigid lattice Kinetic Monte Carlo is an efficient method for simulating nano-objects and surfaces at timescales much longer than those accessible by molecular dynamics. A laborious part of constructing any Kinetic Monte Carlo model is, however, to calculate all migration barriers that are needed to give the probabilities for any atom jump event to occur in the simulations. One of the common methods of barrier calculations is Nudged Elastic Band. The number of barriers needed to fully describe simulated systems is typically between hundreds of thousands and millions. Calculations of such a large number of barriers of various processes is far from trivial. In this paper, we will discuss the challenges arising during barriers calculations on a surface and present a systematic and reliable tethering force approach to construct a rigid lattice barrier parameterization of face-centred and body-centred cubic metal lattices. We have produced several different barrier sets for Cu and for Fe that can be used for KMC simulations of processes on arbitrarily rough surfaces. The sets are published as Data in Brief articles and available for the use.