Interfacial mixing in heteroepitaxial growth
We investigate the growth of a film of some element B on a substrate made of another substance A in a model of molecular beam epitaxy. A vertical exchange mechanism (partial surfactant behavior) allows the A atoms to stay on the growing surface with a certain probability. Using kinetic Monte Carlo simulations as well as scaling arguments, the incorporation of the A’s into the growing B layer is investigated. Moreover, we develop a rate equation theory for this process. The concentration of A impurities decays in the B-film like (distance from the interface)−1−β, where β≈0.5 for two-dimensional surfaces, ≈0.8 in the one-dimensional case, and 1 in mean-field approximation. The power law is cut off exponentially at a characteristic thickness of the interdiffusion zone that depends on the rate of exchange of a B adatom with an A atom in the surface and on the diffusion length. Under certain conditions the interdiffusion zone is predicted to become narrower, if the growth temperature is increased.
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