Thermally induced strain relaxation in SiGe/Si heterostructures with low-temperature buffer layers



Processes of misfit dislocation (MD) nucleation and multiplication in SiGe/Si strained-layer heterostructures under thermal annealing were studied. Specific subjects include the kinetics of dislocation network formation in heterostructures with low-temperature (LT) buffer layers and mechanisms of dislocation nucleation. Samples with LT-Si (400 ºC) and LT-SiGe (250 ºC) buffer layers were grown by MBE. In general, the processes of MD generation occur similarly in the heterostructures studied independently of the alloy composition (Ge content: 0.15, 0.30) and kind of buffer layer. Intrinsic point defects related to the LT epitaxial growth influence mainly the rate of MD nucleation. We suggest a new mechanism of MD generation which includes a nucleation of incipient dislocation loops at heterogeneous sources within SiGe epitaxial layer and formation of spiral sources at threading V-shaped dislocation half-loops. (© 2005 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)