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Interplay between elastic interactions and kinetic processes in stepped Si (001) homoepitaxy

Wei Hong's picture

A vicinal Si (001) surface may form stripes of terraces, separated by monatomic-layer-high steps of two kinds, SA and SB. As adatoms diffuse on the terraces and attach to or detach from the steps, the steps move. In equilibrium, the steps are equally spaced due to elastic interaction. During deposition, however, SA is less mobile than SB. We model the interplay between the elastic and kinetic effects that drives step motion, and show that during homoepitaxy all the steps may move in a steady state, such that alternating terraces have time-independent, but unequal, widths. The ratio between the widths of neighboring terraces is tunable by the deposition flux and substrate temperature. We study the stability of the steady state mode of growth using both linear perturbation analysis and numerical simulations. We elucidate the delicate roles played by the standard Ehrlich-Schwoebel (ES) barriers and inverse ES barriers in influencing growth stability in the complex system containing (SA+SB) step pairs.

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