Publication #139

Nucleation and Growth of Thin Films

J. A. Venables, G.D.T. Spiller and M.Hanbücken, Reports on Progress in Physics 47 (1984) 399-459.


A review is given of the nucleation and growth processes occurring in thin film formation. Emphasis is given to quantitative nucleation theories and to the role of electron microscopy and surface techniques in providing data to test such theories. The relations between the thermodynamics of adsorption and the kinetics of crystal growth is stressed. Experimental examples are taken from the island growth, layer plus island (or Stranski- Krastanov) and layer growth modes. The shapes of growing crystallites are briefly discussed.

We are pleased that you have been reading this, our most cited paper! You have probably noticed some iritating errors, which are primarily mismatches between the figures and the text. The ones we have found are:

Those who have quoted this paper may not have read the more recent papers, where the methods used for calculation of these 'mean field' nucleation models are spelt out in detail. I have been particularly concerned to include adatom vibrations (within the Einstein model), in order to make contact with models of the vapor pressure, as spelt out in my 1987 Phys. Rev. B paper, and incorporated into later papers and experiment-theory comparisons. Some of this work is described in a tutorial spirit in my graduate teaching book which came out in the late Summer of 2000.