The dynamics of TiNx (x=1-3) admolecule interlayer and intralayer transport on TiN/TiN(001) islands

D Edstrom and DG Sangiovanni and L Hultman and I Petrov and JE Greene and V Chirita, THIN SOLID FILMS, 589, 133-144 (2015).

DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2015.05.013

It has been shown both experimentally and by density functional theory calculations that the primary diffusing species during the epitaxial growth of TiN/TiN(001) are Ti and N adatoms together with TiNx complexes (x = 1, 2, 3), in which the dominant N-containing admolecule species depends upon the incident N/Ti flux ratio. Here, we employ classical molecular dynamics (CMD) simulations to probe the dynamics of TiNx (x = 1-3) admolecules on 8 x 8 atom square, single-atom-high TiN islands on TiN(001), as well as pathways for descent over island edges. The simulations are carried out at 1000 K, a reasonable epitaxial growth temperature. We find that despite their lower mobility on infinite TiN(001) terraces, both TiN and TiN2 admolecules funnel toward descending steps and are incorporated into island edges more rapidly than Ti adatoms. On islands, TiN diffuses primarily via concerted translations, but rotation is the preferred diffusion mechanism on infinite terraces. TiN2 migration is initiated primarily by rotation about one of the N admolecule atoms anchored at an epitaxial site. TiN admolecules descend from islands by direct hopping over edges and by edge exchange reactions, while TiN2 trimers descend exclusively by hopping. In contrast, TiN3 admolecules are essentially stationary and serve as initiators for local island growth. Ti adatoms are the fastest diffusing species on infinite TiN(001) terraces, but on small TiN/TiN(001) islands, TiN dimers provide more efficient mass transport. The overall results reveal the effect of the N/Ti precursor flux ratio on TiN(001) surface morphological evolution and growth modes. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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