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Nucleation kinetics of SrTiO3 3D islands and nanorings on Si substrates

AuthorsTejedor, Paloma; Benedicto, Marcos ; Vázquez, Luis ; Galiana, Beatriz
Issue Date3-Sep-2014
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry (UK)
CitationNanoscale 6(21): 13188-13195 (2014)
AbstractThe nucleation of SrTiO3 three-dimensional (3D) islands and nanorings on Si substrates via a novel metalorganic decomposition (MOD) process has been investigated as a function of temperature and solution concentration of the SrTi(OC3H7)6 precursor. Quantitative analysis of island density and size distribution by atomic force microscopy (AFM) has revealed the existence of a nucleation regime at solution concentrations below 5 × 10-3 M, in which the critical nucleus is a trimer and a coalescence regime at higher concentrations, dominated by growth of immobile clusters. Nanorings form preferentially under high supersaturation conditions and their size distribution is consistent with a dynamic coalescence. On the basis of recent theoretical models (Gill, 2012), we have proposed that the island-to-nanoring transition in the SrTiO3/Si system occurs above a critical size as a result of a competition between energetic and kinetic factors. The combination of high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) has shown that the monocrystalline SrTiO3 nanoclusters grow pseudomorphically on the Si substrate and exhibit a strain-induced tetragonal lattice distortion.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1039/C4NR04416A
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