Europhys. Lett.
Volume 72, Number 6, December 2005
Page(s) 1025 - 1031
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 23 November 2005
Europhys. Lett., 72 (6), pp. 1025-1031 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10335-4

Shape and scaling of moving step bunches

V. Popkov1 and J. Krug1, 2

1  Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität zu Köln - Köln, Germany
2  Laboratory of Physics, Helsinki University of Technology - Espoo, Finland

received 21 July 2005; accepted in final form 20 October 2005
published online 23 November 2005

We study step bunching under conditions of attachment/detachment limited kinetics in the presence of a deposition or sublimation flux, which leads to bunch motion. Analysis of the discrete step dynamics reveals that the bunch velocity is inversely proportional to the bunch size for general step-step interactions. The shape of steadily moving bunches is studied within a continuum theory, and analytic expressions for the bunch profile are derived. Scaling laws obtained previously for non-moving bunches are recovered asymptotically, but singularities of the static theory are removed and strong corrections to scaling are found. The size of the largest terrace between two bunches is identified as a central scaling parameter. Our theory applies to a large class of bunching instabilities, including sublimation with attachment asymmetry and surface electromigration in the presence of sublimation or growth.

81.10.Aj - Theory and models of crystal growth; physics of crystal growth, crystal morphology, and orientation.
81.16.Rf - Nanoscale pattern formation.
68.35.-p - Solid surfaces and solid-solid interfaces: Structure and energetics.

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