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Mini Short Course on Thin Film Epitaxial Growth:
Mechanisms and Kinetics
Joe Greene
University of Illinois

Course objectives
* Understand the primary experimental variables and surface reaction paths controlling nucleation/growth kinetics and microstructural evolution during vapor-phase deposition.
* Develop an appreciation of the advantages/disadvantages of competing growth techniques.
* Learn how to better design film growth processes.

Course description
 Thin-film technology is pervasive across many fields of modern technology including microelectronics, optics, magnetics, hard and corrosion resistant coatings, micromechanics, etc. Progress in each of these areas depends upon the ability to selectively and controllably deposit thin films (thickness ranging from tens of angstroms to micrometers) with specified physical properties. This, in turn, requires control -- often at the atomic level -- of film microstructure and microchemistry.
 Essential fundamental aspects, as well as the technology, of thin-film nucleation and growth from the vapor phase (evaporation, MBE, sputtering, and CVD) are discussed in detail and highlighted with "real" examples. The course begins with an introduction on substrate surfaces: structure, reconstruction, and adsorption/desorption kinetics. Nucleation processes are treated in detail using insights obtained from both in situ (RHEED, LEED, STM, AES, EELS, etc.) and post-deposition (TEM and AFM) analyses. The primary modes of nucleation include 2D (step flow, layer-by-layer, and 2D multilayer), 3D, and Stranski-Krastanov.
 The mechanisms and kinetics of epitaxial growth in the 2D step-flow, layer-by-layer, and multilayer growth modes will be discussed in detail using examples from experiments, simulations, and theory. Transitions among these growth modes as well as the fundamental limits of epitaxy will also be discussed. The results from this part of the course will then be used to describe heteroepitaxy and the role of film/substrate misfit strain. Topics in this section include film-stress relaxation mechanisms (misfit dislocations, self-organized island formation; film critical thicknesses), quantum dot engineering, and superlattices.
 

Chapter 1. Introduction: surface structure and processes
Chapter 2. Nucleation
 a. Thermodynamics
 b. Kinetics
Chapter 3. 2D step flow and layer-by-layer growth
  a. Mechanisms and kinetics
  b. Transitions
Chapter 4. 2D multilayer growth
  a. Mechanisms and kinetics
  b. Fundamental limits
Chapter 5. Heteroepitaxy and the role of strain
  a. Relaxation mechanisms
    1. Misfit dislocations, critical thickness
    2. Surface roughening, islanding, S-K growth
  b. Quantum dot engineering
  c. Superlattices


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