The growth of Ge on Si is strongly modified by adsorbates called surfactants. The relevance of the stress on surface morphology and the growth mode of Ge on Si(111) is presented in a detailed in situ study by high resolution low energy electron diffraction (LEED) during the deposition. The change from islanding to layer-by-layer growth mode is seen in the oscillatory intensity behaviour of the 00-spot. As a strain relief mechanism, the Ge-film forms a microscopic rough surface of small triangular and defect-free pyramids in the pseudomorphic growth regime up to 8 monolayers. As soon as the pyramids are completed and start to coalesce, strain relieving defects are created at their base, finally arranging to the dislocation network. Without the driving force for the micro-roughness, the stress, the surface flattens again showing a much larger terrace length. The formation process of the dislocation network results in a spot splitting in LEED, since the periodic dislocations at the interface give rise to elastic deformation of the surface. Surprisingly the Ge-film is relaxed to 70% immediately after 8 monolayers of coverage, which is attributed to the micro rough surface morphology, providing innumerous nucleation sites for dislocation.
Horn-von Hoegen, M.; Pook, M.; Al Falou, A.; Müller, B. H.; and Henzler, M.
"Surface Morphology and Strain Relief in Surfactant Mediated Growth of Germanium on Silicon (111),"
Scanning Microscopy: Vol. 7
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/microscopy/vol7/iss2/3