Surface Science

Growth morphology in the Co/Cu(0 0 1) system

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Growth morphology in Co/Cu/Co films deposited on stepped Cu(0 0 1) is investigated by reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and magneto-optical Kerr effect. The interlayer Cu film thickness is varied from fractions of a monolayer to several monolayers in order to determine the influence of Cu island nucleation on subsequent Co growth. From the analysis of the oscillations in RHEED intensity and in the uniaxial step anisotropy a growth model is proposed which extends earlier scanning tunneling microscopy observations. The different role of Co atoms at island edges as compared to those at pre-existing steps is elucidated. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.