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The impact of small-island dissociation and mobility on island nucleation and growth during vapor deposition of thin films is analyzed using mean field rate equations. The dominant island nucleation and growth mechanism is mapped onto a temperature/deposition-rate kinetic phase diagram, using Cu(100) homoepitaxy as an example. The methodology provides analytical expressions for the boundaries on the diagram and encourages a deeper understanding of the growth mechanisms. A kinetic Monte Carlo simulation incorporating the small-island dynamics is also presented and used to test the kinetic phase diagram, and satisfactory agreement is found throughout.
- kinetic phase diagram
- island nucleation
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