Multilayer thin film growth on crystalline and quasicrystalline surfaces: A phase-field crystal study

Srevatsan Muralidharan, Raika Khodadad, Ethan Sullivan, Mikko Haataja

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6 Scopus citations


In this paper, we explore the effects of misfit strain fields on both heterogeneous nucleation behavior and anisotropic growth of islands at submonolayer coverages and compositional patterning at complete monolayer coverage via simulations of a phase-field crystal model. In particular, deposition on top of a herringbone structure and quasicrystalline (QC) substrate are considered, the former representing a system with spatially periodic misfit strain fields arising from the presence of surface dislocations, and the latter representing a system which inherently possesses a wide range of local, aperiodic misfit patterns. In the case of single-component systems, we demonstrate that misfit strain fields lead to heterogeneous nucleation behavior and anisotropic island growth. In the case of QC substrate, a wide range of morphologies, such as coexistence of locally hexagonally ordered atomic clusters within a larger scale arrangement with overall QC symmetry and so-called "starfish" aggregates, is observed in a pure system at submonolayer coverages when the adlayer-substrate interaction strength and lattice mismatch are tuned. In the case of bulk-immiscible binary systems at complete monolayer coverage, strain-stabilized compositional domains emerge at low line tension values for both substrates. Interestingly, the compositional domains on the QC substrate inherit their symmetries at sufficiently low line tension values, while at larger line tension values, the domain structure begins to resemble the classical spinodal microstructure. Such domain structures should be readily observable in colloidal systems in which attractive interparticle and particle-substrate interactions can be tuned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245428
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 14 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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