On the role of mobile nanoclusters in 2D island nucleation on Si(111)-(7 × 7) surface

D. I. Rogilo, L. I. Fedina, S. S. Kosolobov, A. V. Latyshev

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Two-dimensional (2D) Si island nucleation has been studied by in situ reflection electron microscopy within a wide temperature range (650–1090 °С) on large-scale (∼10–100 µm) terraces to exclude the impact of step permeability and adatom sink to steps. The dependence of 2D island concentration N2D on substrate temperature T and Si deposition rate R displays N2D∝Rχexp (E2D/kT) scaling which parameters change from χ≈0.81, E2D≈1.02 eV to χ≈0.5, E2D≈1.8 eV when Si(111) surface converts from (1 × 1) structure to (7 × 7) reconstruction. We propose that this strong E2D rise accompanied by χ reduction is caused by the change of dominating diffusing particles from adatoms to reconstruction induced nanoclusters. Using a rate-equation model developed to account the dynamics of both diffusing species on the Si(111)-(7 × 7) surface, we show that a stable nucleus of a 2D island appears when two mobile nanoclusters merge together while nucleation kinetics is limited by their attachment to island edges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalSurface Science
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Epitaxial growth
  • Nucleation
  • Silicon
  • Superstructure
  • Surface diffusion


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