Faceting at the step flow threshold in epitaxial growth on patterned surfaces
We identify a kinetic mechanism responsible for the emergence of low-angle facets in recent epitaxial regrowth experiments on patterned surfaces. Kinetic Monte Carlo simulations of vicinal surfaces show that the preferred slope of the facets matches the threshold slope for the transition between step flow and growth by island nucleation. At this crossover slope, the surface step density is minimized and the adatom density is maximized, respectively. A model is developed that predicts the temperature dependence of the crossover slope and hence the facet slope.