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In the Stranski–Krastanov growth mode for heteroepitaxial systems, layer-by-layer growth is followed by the formation and growth of three-dimensional (3D) islands. In this paper, we use a kinetic Monte Carlo method to simulate this growth mode behavior. We present a detailed and systematic investigation into the effects of key model parameters including strain, growth temperature, and deposition rate on this phenomenon. We show that increasing the strain lowers the apparent critical thickness that is defined by the onset of 3D island formation. Similarly, increasing the growth temperature lowers the apparent critical thickness, until intermixing, and the resulting relevance of entropic contributions, become more significant. We also report the impact on Stranski–Krastanov growth of more model-specific parameters, such as bond strengths between constituent atoms of the system, and surface energy anisotropies.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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