Iron Oxide on Magnesium Oxide

One of the key factors that dictate whether or not the molecules of a thin film form a perfect crystalline layer is the compatibility of the deposited substance with the substrate. More specifically, the surface of the substrate must be comprised of a perfect crystal similar to the one molecules will form on top of it. For instance, a hexagonal crystal on a substrate’s surface could not produce a thin film with a square crystal because the crystalline structure of the wafer pulls the incoming molecules into its own order during the deposition process. Though proper structural compatibility helps facilitate the formation of a thin, even layer of molecules on the substrate, it does not guarantee it. Indeed, it is quite common during the process of cooling down for the molecules of the crystalline sheet to crumple up, thus ruining the smooth, featureless surface required of useable thin films. An example of molecule crinkling can be seen in the image above, where a thin film of iron oxide on a magnesium oxide substrate appears heavily ridged and striated, rather than flawless like a well-made mirror.

© 1995-2017 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, software, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Tuesday, Jan 06, 2004 at 10:05 AM
Access Count Since September 19, 1995: 22713
Microscopes provided by:
Visit the Nikon website. Visit the Olympus Microscopy Resource Center website.