Growth of High-Quality Precipitate-Free Thin Films Suitable for Electronic Devices: A New Concept for Substrates



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Precipitate-free thin films of multicomponent materials (e.g. superconductors) have been successfully grown (see Figure) on substrates onto whose surfaces artificial steps have been generated. The steps had widths that were equal to twice the migration length of the atomic species being deposited on the films. The resulting clean, high-quality films were due to the gathering of precipitates at the step edges, where the free energy is lowest.