Self-Ordered Vicinal-Surface-Like Nanosteps at the Thin Metal-Film/Substrate Interface
Published:J. Phys. Chem. C, Just Accepted Manuscript, DOI: 10.1021/jp303205n by Shirly Borukhin, Cecile Saguy, Maria Koifman, and Boaz Pokroy.
Abstract:We report on the self-formation of periodic atomic and nano steps at the interface between the metal thin film and the underlying supporting substrate, revealed by the template stripping method. Such vicinal-like and atomic stepped surfaces of metals and semiconductors exhibit well-arranged, periodic atomic steps and have numerous applications in microelectronics, catalysis, direction of nanowire arrays, patterning of quantum dots and magnetic domains, and many more. In contrast to classical vicinal surfaces which are produced by the expensive and tedious procedure in which single crystals of a desired material are cut at a small angle to the low surface energy plane followed by surface sputtering and annealing under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) for imaging, our surfaces form on polycrystalline materials, at almost room temperature, and at atmospheric environments and have no need of any other procedure in order to image. We also demonstrate how the step periodicity can be easily controlled.
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