Impact of nanocrystalline alkali-halide clusters against solid surfaces causes them to fission exclusively into low surface-energy fragments. In time-of-flight scattering experiments, this process appears at an impact energy so low that it must result from a single-step cleavage of the nanocrystal along low surface-energy cleavage planes. At higher energies (more than 1 electron volt per atom), a crossover occurs to an entirely different behavior-evaporative cascades that proceed irrespective of the structure-energetic properties of the firagments. These cascades, and the approximately linear scaling of the crossover energy with cluster size, are characteristic of impact-induced transformation of the cluster to a molten state. Collision with the high-rigidity surface of silicon gives a substantially greater cleavage probability than the soft basal-plane surface of graphite.
ASJC Scopus subject areas