Letter

Nature 454, 501-504 (24 July 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07074; Received 29 November 2007; Accepted 6 May 2008

Archimedean-like tiling on decagonal quasicrystalline surfaces

Jules Mikhael1, Johannes Roth2, Laurent Helden1 & Clemens Bechinger1,3

  1. 2. Physikalisches Institut, Universität Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
  2. Institut für Theoretische und Angewandte Physik, Universität Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
  3. Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung, Heisenbergstrasse 3, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Correspondence to: Clemens Bechinger1,3 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to C.B. (Email: c.bechinger@physik.uni-stuttgart.de).

Monolayers on crystalline surfaces often form complex structures with physical and chemical properties that differ strongly from those of their bulk phases1. Such hetero-epitactic overlayers are currently used in nanotechnology and understanding their growth mechanism is important for the development of new materials and devices. In comparison with crystals, quasicrystalline surfaces exhibit much larger structural and chemical complexity leading, for example, to unusual frictional2, catalytical3 or optical properties4, 5. Deposition of thin films on such substrates can lead to structures that may have typical quasicrystalline properties. Recent experiments have indeed showed 5-fold symmetries in the diffraction pattern of metallic layers adsorbed on quasicrystals6, 7. Here we report a real-space investigation of the phase behaviour of a colloidal monolayer interacting with a quasicrystalline decagonal substrate created by interfering five laser beams. We find a pseudomorphic phase that shows both crystalline and quasicrystalline structural properties. It can be described by an archimedean-like tiling8, 9 consisting of alternating rows of square and triangular tiles. The calculated diffraction pattern of this phase is in agreement with recent observations of copper adsorbed on icosahedral Al70Pd21Mn9 surfaces10. In addition to establishing a link between archimedean tilings and quasicrystals, our experiments allow us to investigate in real space how single-element monolayers can form commensurate structures on quasicrystalline surfaces.

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