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Quantum growth of a metal/insulator system: Lead on sapphire

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5 Author(s)
Hong, Hawoong ; Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA ; Gray, Aaron ; Xu, Ruqing ; Zhang, Longxiang
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We report the observation of quantum growth behavior in a metal-on-insulator system. Using insulating substrates, with their large band gaps, should maximize quantum confinement effects. In a study of Pb film growth and thermal processing on sapphire, we have observed robust preferred island height selection over a wide thickness range—a hallmark of quantum confinement effects—up to 250 °C. By contrast, room temperature is the limit for Pb films prepared on Si(111). These results provide the evidence connecting the quantum growth behavior of overlayers with the substrate band gap.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:97 ,  Issue: 24 )