, Volume 4, Issue 9, pp 1073-1077,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Jun 2009

Alloying and Strain Relaxation in SiGe Islands Grown on Pit-Patterned Si(001) Substrates Probed by Nanotomography


The three-dimensional composition profiles of individual SiGe/Si(001) islands grown on planar and pit-patterned substrates are determined by atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based nanotomography. The observed differences in lateral and vertical composition gradients are correlated with the island morphology. This approach allowed us to employ AFM to simultaneously gather information on the composition and strain of SiGe islands. Our quantitative analysis demonstrates that for islands with a fixed aspect ratio, a modified geometry of the substrate provides an enhancement of the relaxation, finally leading to a reduced intermixing.