Epitaxial growth of antimony nanofilms on HOPG and thermal desorption to control the film thickness

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Xing, Shuya
Lei, Le
Dong, Haoyu
Guo, Jianfeng
Cao, Feiyue
Gu, Shangzhi
Hussain, Sabir
Pang, Fei
Ji, Wei
Xu, Rui
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Group-V elemental nanofilms were predicted to exhibit interesting physical properties such as nontrivial topological properties due to their strong spin-orbit coupling, the quantum confinement, and surface effect. It was reported that the ultrathin Sb nanofilms can undergo a series of topological transitions as a function of the film thickness h: from a topological semimetal (h > 7.8 nm) to a topological insulator (7.8 nm > h > 2.7 nm), then a quantum spin Hall (QSH) phase (2.7 nm > h > 1.0 nm) and a topological trivial semiconductor (h > 1.0 nm). Here, we report a comprehensive investigation on the epitaxial growth of Sb nanofilms on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) substrate and the controllable thermal desorption to achieve their specific thickness. The morphology, thickness, atomic structure, and thermal-strain effect of the Sb nanofilms were characterized by a combination study of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The realization of Sb nanofilms with specific thickness paves the way for the further exploring their thickness-dependent topological phase transitions and exotic physical properties.
Epitaxial growth , Antimony films , Scanning tunneling microscope (STM) , Thermal desorption
Xing, S., Lei, L., Dong, H., Guo, J., Cao, F., Gu, S., Hussain, S., Pang, F., Ji, W., Xu, R. and Cheng, Z. (2020) ‘Epitaxial growth of antimony nanofilms on HOPG and thermal desorption to control the film thickness*’, Chinese Physics B, 29(9), p. 096801. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1088/1674-1056/aba27c
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