Thin film growth represents a canonical example of a system in which several physical processes operate over a wide range of length and time scales. In this talk, a phase-field crystal (PFC) approach, which enables the study of atomic scale processes over diffusive time scales, is employed to elucidate the effects of misfit strain fields on both heterogeneous nucleation behavior and anisotropic growth of islands at submonolayer coverages in pure systems and compositional patterning at complete monolayer coverage in bulk-immiscible binary systems. In particular, deposition on top of a herringbone structure and quasi-crystalline substrate will be considered, the former representing a system with spatially periodic misfit strain fields arising from the presence of surface dislocations, while the latter representing a system which inherently possesses a wide range of local, aperiodic misfit patterns. Efficacy of such misfit strain patterns in promoting the formation of ordered nanostructures will be critically discussed.
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