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On Morphology and Strain Field of Ge/Si(001) Islands According to TEM Phase Imaging Method

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The mechanism driving Germanium islands nucleation and self-assembly is an important effect for opto-electronic applications, still not fully understood. We demonstrate that the new transmission electron microscopy phase imaging method provides insights on the distribution of strain and composition fields in and around the islands on rather large areas. The method consists of retrieving the phase from a focus series of plane view images. The phase image is representative of morphology, composition and strain. The results show that whatever the islands size and shape is, a maximum compressive strain is obtained at the apex of the islands compensated by a maximum tensile strain in the substrate close to the islands perimeter. The maximum compressive strain is associated to a larger Ge concentration. The distribution of tensile strain varies with the shape of the islands: for square base pyramidal "hut" islands, a maximum tensile strain is obtained at the four corners of the pyramid base and for "dome" islands, the tensile strain is less pronounced and affects almost the whole island perimeter. These results are consistent with the higher strain relaxation level of "dome" islands in comparison to those of "hut" islands.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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