The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 43–56 | Cite as

Finding polymorphic structures during vicinal surface growth

From island nucleation to step-flow instabilities
  • M.H. Radke de Cuba
  • H. Emmerich
  • S. Gemming


A hybrid scheme is developed to describe vicinal surface growth during epitaxy on two different time and length scales. For this purpose this algorithm combines two modules based on a continuum and an atomistic approach. The continuum module is realized by a phase-field-model which traces back to the Burton–Cabrera–Frank theory, the atomistic module is based on the anisotropic Ising model which is mapped onto a lattice-gas model. The latter provides thermal density fluctuations resulting in adatom clustering. With increasing temperature the probability for island nucleation on the terraces decreases according to 1-p where p is an Arrhenius-type activation probability which prevents clusters from becoming islands. Within this framework it is possible to find the transition from a rough surface at low temperatures to an evenly stepped surface at high temperatures where slight step meandering is observed. Furthermore two competing mechanisms of step bunching are investigated within this scale bridging algorithm: alternating anisotropic diffusion and different Ehrlich–Schwoebel barriers at the step edges. It is shown that a simulation of step bunching displaying the full variety of phenomena observed in experiments can only be achieved by the consideration of different time and length scales.


European Physical Journal Special Topic Hybrid Scheme Step Edge Island Nucleation Step Bunching 
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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M.H. Radke de Cuba
    • 1
  • H. Emmerich
    • 1
  • S. Gemming
    • 2
  1. 1.Computational Materials Engineering, Center for Computational Engineering Science, Institute of Minerals Engineering, RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Ion-Beam Physics and Materials ResearchDresdenGermany

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