Apparent activation energy during surface evolution by step formation and flow

M.A. Gosálvez, D. Cheng, Risto Nieminen, Kazuo Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)


During growth and etching by step flow as examples of anisotropic surface processing the apparent activation energy of the growth/etch rate depends on orientation, increasing gradually as a principal, terrace-rich surface is approached. This behaviour is traditionally explained as a change in the dominating process from step propagation to island/pit nucleation. We show that the orientation dependence of the activation energy is actually the result of a traditionally disregarded temperature dependence in the number of active step sites and is not attributable to an increasing role of step nucleation nor to a purely geometrical decrease in the number of step sites. This modifies the traditional picture of the apparent energy for a principal surface and explains how the energy can be higher than, equal to or even lower than that for vicinal orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number269
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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