Electrochemical Defect-Mediated Thin-Film Growth

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Science  02 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5411, pp. 138-141
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5411.138

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An electrodeposition technique is described that produces atomically flat epitaxial metal overlayers of quality similar to that obtained by ultrahigh vacuum techniques at elevated temperature. In this approach, a metal of interest such as silver is co-deposited with a reversibly deposited mediator metal. The mediator is periodically deposited and stripped from the surface, and this serves to significantly increase the density of two-dimensional islands of silver atoms, promoting a layer-by-layer thin-film growth mode. In situ scanning tunneling microscopy was used to demonstrate the growth process for the heteroepitaxial system silver/gold (111) with either lead or copper as the mediator.

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