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