Stranski–Krastanov Growth

Stranski–Krastanov growth (SK growth, also Stransky-Krastanov or Stranski-Krastanow) is one of the three primary modes by which thin films grow epitaxially at a crystal surface or interface. Also known as 'layer-plus-island growth', the SK mode follows a two step process: initially, complete films of adsorbates, up to several monolayers thick, grow in a layer-by-layer fashion on a crystal substrate. Beyond a critical layer thickness, which depends on strain and the chemical potential of the deposited film, growth continues through the nucleation and coalescence of adsorbate 'islands'. This growth mechanism was first noted by Ivan Stranski and Lyubomir Krastanov in 1938. It wasn’t until 1958 however, in a seminal work by Ernst Bauer published in Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, that the SK, Volmer-Weber, and Frank-van der Merwe mechanisms were systematically classified as the primary thin-film growth processes. Since then, SK growth has been the subject of intense investigation, not only to better understand the complex thermodynamics and kinetics at the core of thin-film formation, but also as a route to fabricating novel nanostructures for application in the microelectronics industry.

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