AIP Digital Archive
We report on a structural study of Si/Ge multilayers grown by molecular-beam epitaxy on (100)-Si substrates. The analyses have been performed by using transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution x-ray diffraction, and secondary-ion-mass spectrometry. The investigated specimens differ in number of periods, period thickness, and in the Si/Ge periods thickness ratio. In particular, we investigate the interdiffusion of the Ge atoms in each superlattice period of the epilayer and in the epilayer as whole. The interdiffusion causes a broadening of the nominal thickness of the Ge layer producing a SixGe1−x alloy. Furthermore, the Ge content in the multilayer periods increases as a function of the growth time, i.e., the superlattice periods close to the sample surface contain more Ge atoms if compared to the periods close to the substrate/superlattice interface. We find two steps in the strain relaxation: (i) In each period the strain energy density is partially reduced by the formation of coherent islands; (ii) at a certain value of the strain energy density the shape of the islands changes and the structures relax partially or completely the accumulated strain energy by nucleation of extended defects. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.
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