Laminar Growth of Ultrathin Metal Films on Metal Oxides: Co on Hydroxylated α-Al2O3(0001)

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Science  02 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5582, pp. 827-831
DOI: 10.1126/science.1073404

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Metals deposited in vacuum on metal oxides such as alumina normally grow as three-dimensional clusters because of weak adatom-substrate interactions. This tendency hinders our ability to form interfaces of ultrathin, laminar metal films on oxides for use in microelectronics and other technologies where nanostructural control is desired. We present experimental and theoretical results showing that room temperature Co deposition on fully hydroxylated clean sapphire (α-Al2O3) produces a surface chemical reaction that leads to laminar growth, despite a large mismatch in lattice constants. This process should be applicable to a wide range of metals and metal oxides.

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