Unstable growth and coarsening in molecular-beam epitaxy

Lei Han TANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The coarsening dynamics of three-dimensional islands on a growing film is discussed. It is assumed that the origin of the initial instability of a planar surface is the Ehrlich-Schwoebel step-edge barrier for adatom diffusion. Two mechanisms of coarsening are identified: (i) surface diffusion driven by an uneven distribution of bonding energies, and (ii) mound coalescence driven by random deposition. Semiquantitative estimates of the coarsening time are given in each case. When the surface slope saturates, an asymptotic dynamical exponent z = 4 is obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1998

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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