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1 Island Growth

Island Growth is also known as Volmer-Weber Growth.
This occurs when the atoms in the deposit are more strongly bound to each other than to the substrate.
Stable clusters nucleate initially, and then grow in 3 Dimensions to form islands.
This is often seen in systems of metals on insulators, alkali halide crystals, graphite, and mica substrates.

2 Layer Growth

Layer Growth is also known as Frank-van der Merwe Growth.
This occurs when the atoms in the deposit are more strongly bound to the substrate than to each other.
Stable clusters nucleate initially, and then grow in 2 Dimensions to form planar sheets.
The most important example of this growth mode is in single-crystal epitaxial growth of semi-conductor films.

3 Stranski-Krastanov Growth

This growth mechanism is an intermediate combination of the previous modes.
It is caused by factors (such as film-substrate lattice mismatch) which disturb the binding energies of subsequent layers.
After forming one or more monolayers, island formation becomes more favourable.
This is a fairly common growth mode seen in metal and semiconductor systems.