This review discusses new developments in our attempts to understand the fu
ndamental aspects of organometallic vapor phase epitaxy (OMVPE), a process
now widely used in the manufacture of III/V materials for photonic and elec
tronic applications. It includes discussions of thermodynamic, hydrodynamic
, and kinetic aspects of the growth process, with an emphasis on recent dev
elopments in the area of surface processes, The bonding at the surface duri
ng OMVPE growth is found to be determined mainly by thermodynamic factors.
However, features such as steps and kinks are controlled by kinetic factors
. The surface bonding, including that determined by the step structure, is
just being discovered as being a key determining factor in the fundamental
growth processes, including adsorption/desorption, surface pyrolysis reacti
ons, and surface diffusion. Thus, surface processes determine many aspects
of the growth process and, in many cases, the properties of the resulting e
pitaxial layers. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.