OPEN Scientific reports | 15 Feb 2018
T David, JN Aqua, K Liu, L Favre, A Ronda, M Abbarchi, JB Claude and I Berbezier
Strain engineering is seen as a cost-effective way to improve the properties of electronic devices. However, this technique is limited by the development of the Asarro Tiller Grinfeld growth instability and nucleation of dislocations. Two strain engineering processes have been developed, fabrication of stretchable nanomembranes by deposition of SiGe on a sacrificial compliant substrate and use of lateral stressors to strain SiGe on Silicon On Insulator. Here, we investigate the influence of substrate softness and pre-strain on growth instability and nucleation of dislocations. We show that while a soft pseudo-substrate could significantly enhance the growth rate of the instability in specific conditions, no effet is seen for SiGe heteroepitaxy, because of the normalized thickness of the layers. Such results were obtained for substrates up to 10 times softer than bulk silicon. The theoretical predictions are supported by experimental results obtained first on moderately soft Silicon On Insulator and second on highly soft porous silicon. On the contrary, the use of a tensily pre-strained substrate is far more efficient to inhibit both the development of the instability and the nucleation of misfit dislocations. Such inhibitions are nicely observed during the heteroepitaxy of SiGe on pre-strained porous silicon.
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