Journal article Open Access
Snijders, Paul C.; Weitering, Hanno H.
Many quasi-one-dimensional (1D) materials are experimental approximations to the textbook models of Peierls instabilities and collective excitations in 1D electronic systems. The recently observed self-assembly of atom wires on solid surfaces has provided fascinating new insights into the nature of their structural and electronic instabilities, from both real-space and momentum-space perspectives. In this Colloquium, three of the most studied atom wire arrays are highlighted, all featuring multiple surface-state bands. One of these is made of indium atoms on a flat silicon (111) surface, while the two others consist of gold atoms on surfaces that are vicinal to Si(111). The experimental and theoretical results are discussed with a focus on the detailed mechanisms of the observed phase transitions and on the role of microscopic defects.