Mean-field theory of nucleation and growth on strained surfaces

R. Grima*, J. DeGraffenreid, J. A. Venables

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mean-field nucleation and growth modeling is important for understanding various adsorbate-substrate systems, particularly in the context of epitaxial growth. Conventional mean-field theory does not take into account nonlocal interactions, but adparticles may interact with strained islands via long range elastic interactions mediated by the substrate. We show that recent extensions of mean-field theory to deal with nonlocal interactions do not describe such processes faithfully. Here, we derive a generally applicable mean-field theory of adparticle dynamics on strained surfaces, when interdiffusion is neglected. This approach enables us to determine the transport coefficients from the microscopic physics; in particular, we find explicit expressions for the diffusion coefficient and drift velocity at all positions relative to an arbitrarily strained island. We demonstrate the role of strain on island growth, using island strain fields that are dynamically updated, for Ge/Si(001) parameters. This approach has important applications in the modeling of nucleation and growth of many nanostructures, such as metal nanoclusters, semiconductor hut clusters, and silicide nanowires.

Original languageEnglish
Article number233405
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review B
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007




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