Strain-induced growth-mode transition of V in epitaxial Mo/V(001) superlattices

J. Birch, L. Hultman, J. Sundgren, G. Radnoczi

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Epitaxial (001) oriented Mo/V superlattices have been grown on MgO (001) substrates kept at 700 °C by magnetron sputter deposition. Films with different modulation periods Λ and with different fractions, (Formula presented), of V in the period were investigated ((Formula presented)=(Formula presented)/Λ, where (Formula presented) is the V-layer thickness). The Λ range was 0.313 to 17.7 nm and (Formula presented) was varied in the range 0.11 to 0.93. The as-deposited films were characterized by cross-sectional transmission-electron microscopy and by x-ray-diffraction techniques. The results show that the superlattices change from a structure with smooth Mo and V layers with sharp and well-defined layer interfaces to a structure where the V layers have a large in-plane thickness fluctuation when the V layers exceed a critical thickness (Formula presented). (Formula presented) increases from ∼0.3 to ∼8 nm as (Formula presented) is increased from 0.11 to 0.83 and for equally thick Mo and V layers (Formula presented) is ∼2.5 nm. The layer thickness fluctuations are nonaccumulative and disappear if the periodicity of a growing Mo/V superlattice is changed so that the V-layer thickness becomes smaller than (Formula presented). Mo was found to grow in a two-dimensional mode producing layers with uniform thicknesses, following the undulated surface of the V layers. The results are explained in terms of growth above and below the roughening temperatures for V and Mo, respectively. The roughening of V is suggested to be triggered by the surface strain and curvature induced by misfit dislocations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8114-8123
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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