Simultaneous detection of surface coverage and structure of krypton films on gold by helium atom diffraction and quartz crystal microbalance techniques

We describe a quartz crystal microbalance setup that can be operated at low temperatures in ultra high vacuum with gold electrode surfaces acting as substrate surface for helium diffraction measurements. By simultaneous measurement of helium specular reflection intensity from the electrode surface and resonance frequency shift of the crystal during film adsorption, helium diffraction data can be correlated to film thickness. In addition, effects of interfacial viscosity on the helium diffraction pattern could be observed. To this end, first, flat gold films on AT cut quartz crystals were prepared which yield high enough helium specular reflection intensity. Then the crystals were mounted in the helium diffractometer sample holder and driven by means of a frequency modulation driving setup. Different crystal geometries were tested to obtain the best quality factor and preliminary measurements were performed on Kr films on gold surfaces. While the crystal structure and coverage of krypton films as a function of substrate temperature could successfully be determined, no depinning effects could be observed. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi: 10.1063/1.3658819]