Growth of thin films from atoms deposited from the gas phase is intrinsically a non-equilibrium phenomenon dictated by a competition between kinetics and thermodynamics. Precise control of the growth becomes possible only after achieving an understanding of this competition. In this review, we present an atomistic view of the various kinetic aspects in a model system, the epitaxy of Si on Si(001), as revealed by scanning tunneling microscopy and total-energy calculations. Fundamentally important issues investigated include adsorption dynamics and energetics, adatom diffusion, nucleation, sticking, and detachment. We also briefly discuss the inverse process of growth, removal by sputtering or etching. We aim our discussions to an understanding at a quantitative level whenever possible.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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