Vicinal and on-axis surfaces of 6H-SiC(0001) thin films observed by scanning tunneling microscopy

Satoru Tanaka, R. Scott Kern, Robert F. Davis, John F. Wendelken, Jun Xu

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Surfaces of 6H-SiC(0001) homoepitaxial layers deposited on vicinal (∼3.5° off (0001) towards [1120]) and on-axis 6H-SiC wafers by chemical vapour deposition have been investigated using ultra-high vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy. Undulating step configurations were observed on both the on-axis and the vicinal surfaces. The former surface possessed wider terraces than the latter. Step heights on both surfaces were ∼0.25nm corresponding to single bilayers containing one Si and one C layer. After annealing at T>1100°C for 3-5 min in UHV, selected terraces contained honeycomb-like regions caused by the transformation to a graphitic surface as a result of Si sublimation. A model of the observed step configuration has been proposed based on the observation of the [2̄110] or [12̄10] orientations of the steps and energetic considerations. Additional deposition of very thin (∼2 nm) SiC films on the above samples by gas source molecular beam epitaxy was performed to observe the evolution of the surface structure. Step bunching and growth of 6H-SiC layers and formation of 3C-SiC islands were observed on the vicinal and the on-axis surfaces, respectively, and controlled by the diffusion lengths of the adatoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
JournalSurface Science
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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