Sierpiński Structure and Electronic Topology in Bi Thin Films on InSb(111)B Surfaces

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2021-04-30
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Liu, Chen
Zhou, Yinong
Wang, Guanyong
Yin, Yin
Li, Can
Huang, Haili
Guan, Dandan
Li, Yaoyi
Wang, Shiyong
Zheng, Hao
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Evans, James
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Physics and Astronomy
Physics and astronomy are basic natural sciences which attempt to describe and provide an understanding of both our world and our universe. Physics serves as the underpinning of many different disciplines including the other natural sciences and technological areas.
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Abstract

Deposition of Bi on InSb(111)B reveals a striking Sierpiński-triangle (ST)-like structure in Bi thin films. Such a fractal geometric topology is further shown to turn off the intrinsic electronic topology in a thin film. Relaxation of a huge misfit strain of about 30% to 40% between Bi adlayer and substrate is revealed to drive the ST-like island formation. A Frenkel-Kontrova model is developed to illustrate the enhanced strain relief in the ST islands offsetting the additional step energy cost. Besides a sufficiently large tensile strain, forming ST-like structures also requires larger adlayer-substrate and intra-adlayer elastic stiffnesses, and weaker intra-adlayer interatomic interactions.

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