Scaling and exponent equalities in island nucleation: Novel results and application to organic films

Alberto Pimpinelli*, Levent Tumbek, Adolf Winkler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is known in thin-film deposition that the density of nucleated clusters N varies with the deposition rate F as a power law, N ∼ Fα. The exponent α is a function of the critical nucleus size i in a way that changes with the aggregation limiting process. We extend here the derivation of the analytical capture-zone distribution function Pβ(s) = aß·sβ·exp(-bβs2) of Pimpinelli and Einstein to generic aggregation-limiting processes. We show that the parameter β is generally related to the critical nucleus size i and to the exponent α by the equality α·β = i, in the case of compact islands. This remarkable result allows one to measure i with no a priori knowledge of the actual aggregation mechanism. We apply this equality to measuring the critical nucleus size for pentacene deposition on mica. This system shows a crossover from diffusion-limited to attachment-limited aggregation with increasing deposition rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-998
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Theoretical
  • Experimental

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