Kinetically suppressed Ostwald ripening of Ge/Si(100) hut clusters

M.R. McKay, J.A. Venables and J. Drucker
Phys. Rev. Lett. 101 (2008) 216104


Abstract

Low area density Ge/Si(100) hut cluster ensembles are stable during days-long growth temperature anneals. Real-time scanning tunneling microscopy shows that all islands grow slowly at a decreasing rate throughout the anneal. Island growth depletes the Ge supersaturation that, in turn, reduces the island growth rate. A mean-field facet nucleation and growth model quantitatively predicts the observed growth rate. It shows that Ostwald ripening is kinetically suppressed for Ge supersaturations high enough to support a critical nucleus size less than the smallest facet.

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