We demonstrate that annealing of a vicinal Si(111) surface at about 800 °C with a direct current in the direction that ascends the kinks enhances the formation of atomically straight step edges over micrometer lengths, while annealing with a current in the opposite direction does not. Every straight step edge has the same atomic configuration U(2, 0), which is useful as a template for the formation of a variety of nanostructures. A phenomenological model based on electromigration of charged mobile atoms explains the observed current-polarity dependent behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)