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Open Access Nano Express

Effect of Au thickness on the evolution of self-assembled Au droplets on GaAs (111)A and (100)

Ming-Yu Li1*, Mao Sui1, Eun-Soo Kim1 and Jihoon Lee12*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Electronics and Information, Kwangwoon University, Nowon-gu, Seoul 139-701, South Korea

2 Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:407  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-407

Published: 20 August 2014


In this paper, we report the effect of Au thickness on the self-assembled Au droplets on GaAs (111)A and (100). The evolution of Au droplets on GaAs (111)A and (100) with the increased Au thickness progress in the Volmer-Weber growth mode results in distinctive 3-D islands. Under an identical growth condition, depending on the thickness of Au deposition, the self-assembled Au droplets show different size and density distributions, while the average height is increased by approximately 420% and the diameter is increased by approximately 830%, indicating a preferential lateral expansion. Au droplets show an opposite evolution trend: the increased size along with the decreased density as a function of the Au thickness. Also, the density shifts on the orders of over two magnitude between 4.23 × 1010 and 1.16 × 108 cm−2 over the thickness range tested. At relatively thinner thicknesses below 4 nm, the self-assembled Au droplets sensitively respond to the thickness variation, evidenced by the sharper slopes of dimensions and density plots. The results are systematically analyzed and discussed in terms of atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), cross-sectional surface line profiles, and Fourier filter transform (FFT) power spectra.

Self-assembled droplets; GaAs surfaces; Au thickness; Size and density evolution