Vicinal surfaces are those oriented a few degrees off from a high symmetry direction. They are characterized by a high density of atomic steps, which strongly influence many physical-chemical properties.
Steps are active sites in surface chemistry and catalysis and interplay strongly with thin film growth by introducing uniaxial properties in the film, by driving step-flow, or by fixing single azimuthal domains. Moreover, arrays of steps are frequently explored as templates to guide self-organization of one-dimensional (wire, stripe) and zero-dimensional (nanodot) nano-objects.
A curved crystal can be thought of as containing many different vicinal surfaces, i.e. the terrace width varies systematically throughout the sample
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