Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Studies of Nucleation and Growth in a Reactive, Epitaxial System: Co/Si(111)

Peter Bennett, S. A. Parikh, D. G. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We present scanning tunneling microscopy observations of the reaction of cobalt with Si(lll)-(7X7). For deposition at 320 °C (reactive epitaxy), hat-topped monolayer islands of triangular shape with vertices along (Il2)Si nucleate on the faulted side of the 7X7 structure then grow in size attaining edge lengths that are quantized to integer multiples of the 7X7 unit cell. A 2X2 reconstruction with large corrugation occurs on some of the islands, and is believed to be an ordered array of silicon adatoms. The shape and orientation of the islands appears to be determined by energetics, not growth kinetics. They coexist with the 7X7 structure, implying that metal atoms readily diffuse through the silicon matrix before attaching to an existing island. From the areal density of islands we estimate an activation energy for “surface diffusion'’ of 0.8 eV, and argue that the process involves metal atom transport through near-surface silicon interstitials. At lower temperatures, no ordered silicide forms, while at higher temperatures, multilayer islands form with a predominant layer spacing of 3.1 A suggesting that they are (lll)CoSi2. For postdeposition annealing at 600 °C (solid phase epitaxy), large, multilayer islands of CoSi2 form, in coexistence with a /7 submonolayer phase. General aspects of the nucleation, growth, and coarsening in this reactive, epitaxial system are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1680-1685
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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