J. Phys. I France
Volume 3, Numéro 2, February 1993
Page(s) 447 - 457
DOI: 10.1051/jp1:1993144
J. Phys. I France 3 (1993) 447-457

Fractal terraces in MBE growth

Alberto Pimpinelli1, 2, Jacques Villain3 and Dietrich E. Wolf4

1  Laboratoire de spectrométrie physique, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
2  Dipartimento di fisica, Università di Parma, 1-43100 Parma, Italy
3  S. P. S. M. S./M. D. N., Département de Recherche Fondamentale M. C. du Centre d'Etude Nucléaire de Grenoble, 85X 38041 Grenoble Cedex, France
4  IFF, Forschungszentrum KFA Jülich, POB 1913, D-5170 Jülich, Germany

(Received 8 June 1992, accepted in final form 24 July 1992)

MBE growth on high symmetry surfaces depends to some extent on the shape of the terraces which form the embryos of each new atomic layer. The conditions for formation of compact or fractal terraces are discussed in two limits: large terraces, to which a continuous description applies, and small terraces, which require that the discrete nature of matter be taken into account. In both cases it is found that terraces are fractal if and only if diffusion of adatoms along steps is much slower than on the flat surface at the same temperature. Precise conditions are given which should be accessible to experiment.

68.55 - 05.40 - 64.60H

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