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Metal-ceramic interfaces are important in applications as diverse as magnetic storage media and supported catalysts. It is very important to understand how the crystallography and microstructure of metallic films deposited onto ceramic substrates depend on growth and/or annealing conditions so that their physical properties (e.g. magnetic, electronic, etc.) can be tailored for specific applications. To this end, we have studied the epitaxial growth and annealing of (001) and (111) Ni films MBE grown on MgO substrates, where we have observed the evolution of the surface using correlated in- situ RHEED (reflection high-energy-electron diffraction) and STM (scanning tunneling microscopy) measurements.
We report an in-situ study of the MBE growth of Cu films on hydrogen-terminated Si (001) and (7×7) reconstructed Si(111) substrates. Using correlated RHEED and STM data, we find a dramatic smoothing of epitaxial Cu(001) surfaces by annealing the as- grown films in the 120-160oC temperature range and somewhat less so for the Cu (111) films. Our measurements reveal a lower activation energy (0.40 ± 0.04 eV) for inter- terrace mass transport in Cu(001) than for Cu(111) (1.10 ± 0.03 eV) the former possibly influenced by the presence of hydrogen. Scaling analysis of the subsequent Cu growth on the annealed smooth surfaces yields a coarsening exponent of 1/4 for the (001) oriented films while this exponent is 1/3 for the (111) films, providing for the first time experimental data for the same system in these two orientations.
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