Continuum theory of epitaxial crystal growth. I

E. Weinan, Nung Kwan Yip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We present various continuum limits to describe epitaxial thin film growth. We consider a hierarchy of models which can take into account the diffusion of terrace adatoms, attachment and detachment of edge adatoms, vapor phase diffusion and the effect of multiple species. The starting point is the Burton Cabrera-Frank type step flow model. We have obtained partial differential equations in the form of a coupled system of diffusion equation for the adatom density and a Hamilton Jacobi equation for the film height function. This is supplemented with appropriate boundary conditions at the continuum level to describe the growth at the peaks and valleys on the film. The results here can be used in a macroscopic description of thin film growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number302565
Pages (from-to)221-253
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Statistical Physics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


  • Burton-Cabrera-Frank (BCF) step flow model
  • Continuum limit
  • Epitaxial growth


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