The role of faceting in biaxially textured thin films: Columnar morphology and abnormal tilting

Yicun Huang, Sarah L. Masters, S. P. Krumdieck, Catherine M. Bishop*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The ground-breaking properties of biaxially textured thin films have attracted increasing attention to the characterization and growth theory of their crystal morphologies. In particular, multi-faceted columnar structures developed during oblique angle deposition (OAD) show abnormal tilt angles that have not been previously captured by existing models. Current theories for the formation of biaxially aligned columnar structures overlook the fact that the surface diffusion on individual facets can be finite. In this work, a continuum model incorporating finite adatom mobility, flux-dependent sticking coefficient, and material-specific surface energies is employed to study the growth of a well-known MgO-OAD system. Experimentally observed morphologies are reproduced by simulating the shadowing growth of an array of preferentially oriented single crystals. We show that the abnormal tilting is elusive considering only the effects of faceting and shadowing. A proposed sticking coefficient in our model, determined by the component of adatom momentum parallel to the surface, is responsible for the development of abnormal tilting. The role of faceting is demonstrated by its effect on the resulting columnar morphologies. Using the proposed model, the characteristic morphology and tilting behavior of a CaF 2-OAD system are also obtained, which agree with experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055303
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number5
Early online date3 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of faceting in biaxially textured thin films: Columnar morphology and abnormal tilting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this