Two types of mechanisms are proposed for mound coarsening during unstable epitaxial growth: stochastic, due to deposition noise, and deterministic, due to mass currents driven by surface energy differences. Both yield the relation H = (RW L)2 between the typical mound height W, mound size L, and the film thickness H. An analysis of simulations and experimental data shows that the parameter R saturates to a value which discriminates sharply between stochastic (R ≃ 1) and deterministic (R ≪ 1) coarsening. We derive a scaling relation between the coarsening exponent 1/z and the mound-height exponent β which, for a saturated mound slope, yields β = 1/z = 1/4.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- 05.70.Ln nonequilibrium thermodynamics, irreversible processes
- 68.55.-a Thin film structure morphology
- 81.10.Aj Theory and models of crystal growth; physics of crystal growth, crytal morphology and orientation