The roughening transition of vicinal surfaces
Laboratoire d'Étude des Propriétés Électroniques des Solides
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique,
BP 166, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
Published online: 15 December 2001
Facetting of a vicinal surface is due to an arrangement of parallel primary steps which is commensurate with the substrate in plane periodicity (for instance one step every pth atomic row). It was shown by [CITE] that such a locking requires an interaction between steps together with a finite step stiffness. But this early approach only reveals part of the story, as it is limited to sharp solid-vacuum interfaces in which thermal excitation of energetically expensive kinks controls all fluctuations. In this paper the problem is taken afresh in a language which applies equally well to "soft" interfaces, with important changes in the conclusions.
PACS: 61.30.Hn – Surface phenomena: alignment, anchoring, anchoring transitions, surface-induced layering, surface-induced ordering, wetting, prewetting transitions, and wetting transitions / 61.30.-v – Liquid crystals
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2001