We study the strain relaxation mechanisms of Cu on Pd(111) up to the monolayer regime using two different computational methodologies, basin-hopping global optimization and energy minimization with a repulsive bias potential. Our numerical results are consistent with experimentally observed layer-by-layer growth mode. However, we find that the structure of the Cu layer is not fully pseudomorphic even at low coverages. Instead, the Cu adsorbates forms fcc and hcp stacking domains, separated by partial misfit dislocations. We also estimate the minimum energy path and energy barriers for transitions from the ideal epitaxial state to the fcc-hcp domain pattern.
- Thin films