Using scanning tunneling microscopy, we study the step configuration on TaC(910) which is vicinal to the (100) plane, miscut 6.34° toward the  direction. After annealing at ∼ 2100 °C, the surface is dominated by double-height steps which are bunched between relatively long intervening (100) terraces. The step-separation distribution is very skewed and sharply peaked. Monte Carlo simulations show that a strong, medium-range, repulsive step interaction A/x must be combined with a weak, long-range, attractive interaction, -B/x to fit the measured distribution. Possible physical origins for these interactions are discussed.
Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science
© 2001 The American Physical Society
Zuo, J-K., Tianjiao Zhang, J. F. Wendelken, and D. M. Zehner. "Step bunching on TaC (910) due to attractive step-step interactions." Physical Review B 63, no. 3 (2001): 033404.
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics