Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) was used to investigate nucleation and growth phenomena in the heteroepitaxy of calcium fluoride (CaF2) on a Si(lll) surface. CaF2 was evaporated at room temperature on Si(111), and annealed to about 450°C. Subsequently, characteristically, shaped islands, with steps arranged in the  direction, were observed both on a terrace and a step edge of Si(111). After annealing this surface to about 600°C, STM images clearly showed that these islands underwent a structural transformation to well-ordered heteroepitaxial layers which consisted of rows running along the  direction and grew from Si step edges. These findings show that at a high temperature the preferential nucleation sites are distributed on the Si step edges and that CaF2 molecules have sufficient surface diffusion length to form the heteroepitaxial layers at the step edges.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)