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Keywords:

  • Phonon spectrometer;
  • Quasidiffusion;
  • Optical excitation of silicon;
  • Desorption of helium;
  • Exciton

Abstract

We have studied the phonon spectra resulting from laser pulse excitation of a silicon surface. We used a phonon spectrometer based on pressure tuned boron levels in silicon (Si: B-spectrometer). A new design allowed us to use the spectrometer in vacuum for the first time. We observed phonon frequencies up to 1 THz. The pulse shapes indicated both, quasidiffusion and a long exciton lifetime. On adding helium films to the surface we have found dramatic changes of the spectrum. Full thermalisation was reached already at a thickness of 1.5 monolayers. This indicates a strong anharmonic interaction in the very first monolayers at these high frequencies and, in addition, a strong confinement of the phonons to the surface by quasidiffusion.