Enhanced surface mobility is critical in producing stable glasses during physical vapor deposition. In amorphous selenium (a-Se) both the structure and dynamics of the surface can be altered when exposed to above-bandgap light. Here we investigate the effect of light on the properties of vapor-deposited a-Se glasses at a range of substrate temperatures and deposition rates. We demonstrate that deposition both under white light illumination and in the dark results in thermally and kinetically stable glasses. Compared to glasses deposited in the dark, stable a-Se glasses formed under white light have reduced thermal stability, as measured by lower density change, but show significantly improved kinetic stability, measured as higher onset temperature for transformation. While light induces enhanced mobility that penetrates deep into the surface, resulting in lower density during vapor deposition, it also acts to form more networked structures at the surface, which results in a state that is kinetically more stable with larger optical birefringence. We demonstrate that the structure formed during deposition with light is a state that is not accessible through liquid quenching, aging, or vapor deposition in the dark, indicating the formation of a unique amorphous solid state.
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- Science Advances
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- National Science Foundation
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