A Giant Reconstruction of alpha-quartz (0001) Interpreted as Three Domains of Nano Dauphine Twins

SD Eder and K Fladischer and SR Yeandel and A Lelarge and SC Parker and E Sondergard and B Holst, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5, 14545 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/srep14545

Silica (SiO2) is one of the most common materials on Earth. The crystalline form alpha-quartz is the stable silica polymorph at ambient conditions although metastable forms exist. alpha-quartz is a piezoelectric material, it can be produced artificially and is widely used for example in electronics and the biosciences. Despite the many application areas, the atomic surface structures of silica polymorphs are neither well understood nor well characterized. Here we present measurements of alpha-quartz (0001). Helium Atom Scattering combined with Atomic Force Microscopy reveals a giant reconstruction consisting of 5.55 +/- 0.07 nm wide ribbons, oriented 10.4 degrees +/- 0.8 degrees relative to the bulk unit cell. The ribbons, with the aid of atomistic modelling, can be explained as a self-organised pattern of nano Dauphine twins (nano electrical twins).

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