The study of adsorption, diffusion, island formation, and interlayer transport of atoms on a growing surface has been an active field in the past decade, because of both experimental and theoretical advances. Experiments can give detailed images of patterns formed on growing surfaces. An important challenge to the theoretical studies is the identification of dynamical processes controlling the pattern formation and overall surface morphology. This can be achieved by accurate modeling of the atomic interactions, a thorough search for active atomic-scale processes, and simulation of the growth on the experimental timescale to allow for detailed comparison with the experimental measurements. An overview of some of the theoretical methodology used in these studies and results obtained for one of the most extensively studied systems, Pt(111), is given here. A remarkable richness of phenomena has emerged from these studies, where apparently small effects can shift the balance between competing molecular processes and thereby change the morphology of a growing surface. The article concludes with a discussion of possible future directions in this research area.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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