Preferential nucleation of Ge islands at self-organized pits formed during the growth of thin Si buffer layers on Si(110)

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The epitaxial growth of thin (∼20-40 nm) Si buffer layer on Si(110) leads to the formation of ∼100-nm-wide, uniformly sized faceted pits. The cause of these rhombohedral pits is revealed to be the overgrowth of a homoepitaxial layer over clusters of coherent contaminant particles, possibly SiC. Deposition of Ge on such "pitted" surfaces shows highly selective nucleation of pairs of coherent islands at the opposite corners of the pits along the 〈110〉 direction. Continued deposition leads to strain relaxation of one or both of the islands within the pit which then rapidly coarsen to form a single Ge island within the pit. Our observations offer insight into heterogeneous nucleation mechanisms important for producing controlled arrays of self-assembled quantum dots. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.

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Journal of Applied Physics