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Chin. Phys. B, 2020, Vol. 29(9): 096801    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/aba27c

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

Shuya Xing(邢淑雅)1, Le Lei(雷乐)1, Haoyu Dong(董皓宇)1, Jianfeng Guo(郭剑峰)1, Feiyue Cao(曹飞跃)1, Shangzhi Gu(顾尚志)1, Sabir Hussain2,3, Fei Pang(庞斐)1, Wei Ji(季威)1, Rui Xu(许瑞)1, Zhihai Cheng(程志海)1
1 Beijing Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Functional Materials & Micro-nano Devices, Department of Physics, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China;
2 CAS Key Laboratory of Standardization and Measurement for Nanotechnology, CAS Center for Excellence in Nanoscience, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing 100190, China;
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
Abstract  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.
Keywords:  epitaxial growth      antimony films      scanning tunneling microscope (STM)      thermal desorption  
Received:  24 May 2020      Revised:  23 June 2020      Accepted manuscript online:  03 July 2020
PACS: (Semiconductors)  
  68.55.-a (Thin film structure and morphology)  
  68.43.Vx (Thermal desorption)  
  68.37.Ef (Scanning tunneling microscopy (including chemistry induced with STM))  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 21622304, 61674045, 11604063, and 61911540074), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFA0200700), the Strategic Priority Research Program and Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences and Instrument Developing Project (Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS) (Grant Nos. XDB30000000, QYZDB-SSW-SYS031, and YZ201418). Z. H. Cheng was supported by Distinguished Technical Talents Project and Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China, and the Research Funds of Renmin University of China (Grant No. 18XNLG01).
Corresponding Authors:  Fei Pang, Zhihai Cheng     E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

Shuya Xing(邢淑雅), Le Lei(雷乐), Haoyu Dong(董皓宇), Jianfeng Guo(郭剑峰), Feiyue Cao(曹飞跃), Shangzhi Gu(顾尚志), Sabir Hussain, Fei Pang(庞斐), Wei Ji(季威), Rui Xu(许瑞), Zhihai Cheng(程志海) Epitaxial growth of antimony nanofilms on HOPG and thermal desorption to control the film thickness 2020 Chin. Phys. B 29 096801

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