Geometrical Frustration in Nanowire Growth

K. W. Schwarz, IBM Corp., Thomas J. Watson Ctr.
J. Tersoff, IBM Corp., Thomas J. Watson Ctr.
S. Kodambaka, University of California - Los Angeles
Y.C. Chou, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
F. M. Ross, IBM Corp., Thomas J. Watson Ctr.

Date of this Version



Physical Review Letters: Vol. 107, Iss. 26 — 23 December 2011


This is the published version of K. W. Schwarz, J. Tersoff, S. Kodambaka, Y.-C. Chou, and F. M. Ross. (23 December 2011). "Geometrical Frustration in Nanowire Growth". First published in the Physical Review Letters and is available online at:


Idealized nanowire geometries assume stable sidewalls at right angles to the growth front. Here we report growth simulations that include a mix of nonorthogonal facet orientations, as for Au-catalyzed Si. We compare these with in situ microscopy observations, finding striking correspondences. In both experiments and simulations, there are distinct growth modes that accommodate the lack of right angles in different ways-one through sawtooth-textured sidewalls, the other through a growth front at an angle to the growth axis. Small changes in conditions can reversibly switch the growth between modes. The fundamental differences between these modes have important implications for control of nanowire growth.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology