Scanning Microscopy


We investigate the driving forces that determine the growth mode of heteroepitaxial Ge layers grown from solution on Si substrates with orientations (001), (011) and (111) by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Using liquid phase epitaxy, we can study the influences of strain and surface energy terms independently on effects due to limited surface diffusion. In (001) and (011) orientated layers, {111} faceted islands form (Stranski-Krastanov growth). In contrast, (111) orientated layers grow in a two-dimensional step flow growth mode (Frank-van der Merwe growth).

We model these investigations in terms of energy minimisation considering surface energy reduction by formation of faceted islands and elastic strain energy relaxation by island formation. The strain energy relaxation by island formation is calculated by the finite element method. According to our considerations, two-dimensional growth is obtained by selective increase of the free surface energy of the low indices facet planes to a value higher than that of the substrate surface. Formation of faceted islands thus would increase the total surface energy; as a consequence, island formation is suppressed. By choosing the appropriate solvent and temperature in solution growth, we can provide for thermodynamically stable two-dimensional growth.

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