Nano-beam electron diffraction evaluation of strain behaviour in nano-scale patterned strained silicon-on-insulator



A major challenge for the application of strain engineering to enhance the performance of electronic devices is the quantification of strain on the nanoscale. Besides other techniques (Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction) electron beam techniques allow strain analyses with a spatial resolution of a few nanometers and a reasonable strain sensitivity of 1 × 10–3 (relative to the lattice constant of silicon). In the present work, we address practical issues in the application of nano-beam electron diffraction (NBED) to probe the strain in strained silicon layers and sub-100 nm structures. The investigated specimens were prepared on biaxially tensile strained silicon-on-insulator substrates with an initial strain of ε = 0.6% or 0.8%. Results of the NBED experiments were compared to data obtained by other strain measurement techniques; amongst them the strain mapping by peak-pairs analysis of high-angle annular dark field (HAADF) images was especially considered (© 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)