We report the observation of bunching of monoatomic steps on vicinal W(110) surfaces induced by step-up or step-down currents across the steps. Measurements reveal that the size-scaling exponent γ, connecting the maximal slope of a bunch with its height, differs depending on the current direction. We provide a numerical perspective by using an atomistic-scale model with a conserved surface flux to mimic experimental conditions, and also show that there is an interval of parameters in which the vicinal surface is unstable against step bunching for both directions of the adatom drift.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics