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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Kinetically determined surface morphology in epitaxial growth Jones, Aleksy K.


Molecular beam epitaxy has recently been applied to the growth and self assembly of nanostructures on crystal substrates. This highlights the importance of understanding how microscopic rules of atomic motion and assembly lead to macroscopic surface shapes. In this thesis, we present results from two computational studies of these mechanisms. We identify a kinetic mechanism responsible for the emergence of low-angle facets in recent epitaxial regrowth experiments on patterned surfaces. Kinetic Monte Carlo simulations of vicinal surfaces show that the preferred slope of the facets matches the threshold slope for the transition between step flow and growth by island nucleation. At this crossover slope, the surface step density is minimized and the adatom density is maximized, respectively. A model is developed that predicts the temperature dependence of the crossover slope and hence the facet slope. We also examine the "step bunching" instability thought to be present in step flow growth on surfaces with a downhill diffusion bias. One mechanism thought to produce the necessary bias is the inverse Ehrlich Schwoebel (ES) barrier. Using continuum, stochastic, and hybrid models of one dimensional step flow, we show that an inverse ES barrier to adatom migration is an insufficient condition to destabilize a surface against step bunching.

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