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Size-Dependent Shape and Tilt Transitions in In2O3 Nanoislands Grown on Cubic Y-Stabilized ZrO2(001) by Molecular Beam Epitaxy

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Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QR, United Kingdom
Diamond Light Source Ltd., Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0DE, United Kingdom
§ London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, London WC1H 0AH, United Kingdom
Clarendon Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, United Kingdom
*Address correspondence to [email protected]
Cite this: ACS Nano 2012, 6, 8, 6717–6729
Publication Date (Web):June 29, 2012
Copyright © 2012 American Chemical Society

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    The growth of In2O3 on cubic Y-stabilized ZrO2(001) by molecular beam epitaxy leads to formation of nanoscale islands which may tilt relative to the substrate in order to help accommodate the 1.7% tensile mismatch between the epilayer and the substrate. High-resolution synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction has been used in combination with atomic force microscopy to probe the evolution in island morphology, orientation, and tilt with island size. Very small islands formed at low substrate coverage are highly strained but exhibit no tilt, while intermediate islands are tilted randomly in all directions, giving rise to distinctive doughnut-shaped structure in three-dimensional reciprocal space isosurfaces. The largest islands with lateral sizes on the order of 1 μm tilt away from the four equivalent in-plane ⟨110⟩ directions, giving three-dimensional scattering isosurfaces dominated by structure at the four corners of a square. Spatially resolved reciprocal space mapping using an X-ray beam with dimensions on the order of 1 μm suggests that the four-fold symmetry observed using a larger beam arises from averaging over an ensemble of islands, each with an individual tilt down one direction, rather than from the coexistence of differently tilted domains within a given island.

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    Reciprocal space maps around epilayer (008), (006), and (226) reflections for an additional sample with average coverage of 15 nm and bimodal island size distribution. The map for the (226) reflection includes the substrate (113) reflection. Reciprocal space maps around epilayer (136) reflection for samples with average coverages of 0.4 nm, 3 nm (bimodal island size distribution), and 15 nm. The details of these three samples are given in Table 1. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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