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Title: Theory of multiple quantum dot formation in strained-layer heteroepitaxy

For this, we develop a theory for the experimentally observed formation of multiple quantum dots (QDs) in strained-layer heteroepitaxy based on surface morphological stability analysis of a coherently strained epitaxial thin film on a crystalline substrate. Using a fully nonlinear model of surface morphological evolution that accounts for a wetting potential contribution to the epitaxial film's free energy as well as surface diffusional anisotropy, we demonstrate the formation of multiple QD patterns in self-consistent dynamical simulations of the evolution of the epitaxial film surface perturbed from its planar state. The simulation predictions are supported by weakly nonlinear analysis of the epitaxial film surface morphological stability. We find that, in addition to the Stranski-Krastanow instability, long-wavelength perturbations from the planar film surface morphology can trigger a nonlinear instability, resulting in the splitting of a single QD into multiple QDs of smaller sizes, and predict the critical wavelength of the film surface perturbation for the onset of the nonlinear tip-splitting instability. The theory provides a fundamental interpretation for the observations of “QD pairs” or “double QDs” and other multiple QDs reported in experimental studies of epitaxial growth of semiconductor strained layers and sets the stage for precise engineering of tunable-size nanoscale surfacemore » features in strained-layer heteroepitaxy by exploiting film surface nonlinear, pattern forming phenomena.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Physics Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 109; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0003-6951
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22). Materials Sciences & Engineering Division
Country of Publication:
United States
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; diffusion; surface finishing; surface patterning; III-V semiconductors; quantum dots; surface morphology; epitaxy; surface strains; anisotropy; surface dynamics
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1261224