Wacek Swiech

Wacek Swiech
Wacek Swiech
Senior Research Scientist
(217) 244-9532
306 Seitz Materials Research Lab


  • M.S. Physics – University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland, March 1981 Summa Cum Laude (phase transformations in ferroelectrics)
  • Ph.D. Physics – University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland, June 1991 (applications of Low-Energy Electron Microscopy)

Academic Positions

  • 1991-1993 Max-Planck Postdoctoral Fellow (Max-Planck-Stipendiat) Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society, Berlin, Germany
  • 1994-1996 Senior Research Associate (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Institute of Physics Mainz, Germany
  • 1996-2012 Research Electron Microscopist, Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
  • 2012-present Senior Research Scientist, Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

Research Statement

  • General materials characterization.
  • Electron microscopy.
  • Ultra-thin film growth.
  • Surface analysis.
  • Development/Design of Ultra-High Vacuum instrumentation

35 years of surface physics and chemistry experience in na UHV environment using surface sensitive laterally resolving techniques. 25 years of experience with LEEM/PEEM. 15 years of experience with TEM/SEM/FIB.
In the early years involved in an electron emission group (field electron emission, FEM and ion microscopies, FIM). FEM studies on Si(111) nanowires grown by vapor-liquid-solid method. Later fully responsible to develop understanding of the principles of operation of the single LEEM instrument in the world (at that time). Learned the principles of electron optical devices utilizing low-energy immersion lenses. Developed extended and new modes of operation. Self-fabricated Schottky-like emitters for the electron gun. Research encompassed very early topics of surface science aspects tackled by LEEM as e.g. growth of ultrathin layers of various metallic adsorbates on both metallic and semiconducting single crystal substrates (all types included: F. v.d. Merwe, Stranski-Krastanov and Volmer-Weber), phase transformations on silicon and single and double monolayer metallic films (purely structural, strain-induced and adsorbate-induced), transition between two-dimensional layers and three-dimensional islands, faceting transitions on vicinal silicon surfaces. Moved to the field of surface chemistry. Pioneered studies of laterally resolved structure of the spatio-temporal investigations of the reaction-diffusion front propagation in redox systems of heterogeneous catalysis. Later pioneered investigations of surface magnetism with elemental sensitivity. Additional experiments were dedicated to burried magnetic structures and domain wall profiles (X-PEEM with Synchrotron Radiation using X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism effect). Studies of heavy fermion systems etc. At FS-MRL worked with LEEM on real-time studies of microtopography evolution of bcc(011) thin single-crystal metal layers at elevated temperatures including substrate miscut-dependent behavior (both polar and azimuthal) and characterization of dislocation creation and movement; co-develop and apply Step Fluctuation Spectroscopy (capillary wave analysis of step fluctuations) to investigations of numerous both bcc(011) and fcc(111) closed packed surfaces of metals; studies of both surface diffusion and surface/bulk diffusion transitions; studies of adsorbate-induced 3-dimensional faceting; studies of nanowire systems on silicon; studies of 2-demensional phase transformations on silicon (mostly (011)); studies of dislocation-driven spiral step dynamics; studies of diffusion, step permeability and step-step interactions on Ti(111)); fundamental investigations of nano-scale phenomena in ion beam-assisted nucleation, growth and erosion (e.g. erosion by self and noble gas ions, nucleation of correlated step structures, ripening of ripples, quantitative studies of surface diffusion – both of adatom and advacancy structures, step fluctuation on driven surfaces, epitaxial growth with hyper-thermal self-ions, surface sinks during irradiation, chemistry patterning and nanoenergetics with beams of foreign ion etc.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • S. Kodambaka, S.V. Khare, W. Swiech, K.Ohmori, I. Petrov and J.E. Greene "Dislocation-driven surface dynamics on solids" Nature 429, 49 (2004)
  • M. Ondrejcek, W. Swiech and C.P. Flynn “From step fluctuations to nanostructure energetics on Nb(011)” Phil. Mag. 86, 1387 (2006)
  • M. Ondrejcek, M. Rajappan, W. Swiech and C.P. Flynn "Step fluctuation studies of surface diffusion and step stiffness for the Ni(111) surface" Phys Rev. B73, 035418 (2006)
  • S.-J. Tang, S. Kodambaka, W. Swiech, I. Petrov, C.P. Flynn and T.-C. Chiang "Sublimation of atomic layers from a chromium surface" Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 126106 (2006)
  • J. Bareno, S. Kodambaka, S.V. Khare, W. Swiech, I. Petrov and J.E. Greene "Orientation-dependent mobilities from analyses of two-dimensional TiN(111) island decay kinetics" Thin Solid Films 510, 339 (2006)
  • M. Ondrejcek, W. Swiech and C.P. Flynn “Surface mass diffusion and step stiffness on an anisotropic surface: Mo(011)” Surf. Sci. 600, 4673 (2006)
  • M. Ondrejcek, M. Rajappan, W. Swiech and C.P. Flynn "Surface mass diffusion and step stiffness on V(011)" J. Appl. Phys. 100, 083523 (2006)
  • M. Rajappan, W. Swiech, M. Ondrejcek and C.P. Flynn "Surface mass diffusion over an extended temperature range on Pt(111)" J. Phys. Cond. Matter 19, 226006 (2007)
  • M. Rajappan, W. Swiech, M. Ondrejcek and C.P. Flynn "Surface sinks action during irradiation for Pt- on Pt(111) by (LEEM)" Phil. Mag. 87, 4501 (2007)
  • C.P. Flynn, W. Swiech, M. Ondrejcek and M. Rajappan “Surface islands nucleated by a beam of energetic self-ions” Phys. Rev. B77, 045406 (2008)
  • W. Swiech, M. Rajappan, M. Ondrejcek, E. Sammann, S. Burdin, I. Petrov and C.P. Flynn “Real-time imaging of surface evolution driven by variable energy ion impact” Ultramicroscopy 108, 646 (2008)
  • C.P. Flynn, W. Swiech and M. Ondrejcek “Universal growth of islands driven by ion beams” Phys. Rev. B78, 075420 (2008)
  • C.P. Flynn, M. Ondrejcek and W. Swiech “Synthesis of pans and mesas using a beam of self-ions” J. Phys.: Cond. Matter 20, 395001 (2008)
  • M. Ondrejcek, W. Swiech, I. Petrov, M. Rajappan and C.P. Flynn “LEEM investigations of surfaces using a beam of energetic self-ions” Microscopy Research and Technique 72, 197 (2009)
  • W. Swiech, M. Ondrejcek and C.P. Flynn “LEEM investigations of ion beam effects on clean metal surfaces: quantitative studies of the driven steady state” J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 21, 314021 (2009)
  • W. Gao, J. Wu, X. Zhang, A. Yoon, J. Mabon, W. Swiech, W.L. Wilson, H. Yang and J.-M. Zuo “Surface atomic diffusion processes observed at millisecond time resolution using environmental TEM” Microscopy and Microanalysis 20(3), 1590 (2014)
  • W. Yang, S. Mao, J. Yang, T. Shang, H. Song, J. Mabon, W. Swiech, J.R. Vance, Z. Yue, S.J. Dillon, H. Xu and B. Xu “Large-deformation and high-strength amorphous porous carbon nanospheres” Scientific Reports 6, 24187 (2016); Online at: doi 10.1038/srep24187