Hydrostatic Strain Enhancement in Laterally Confined SiGe Nanostripes


Author: G M Vanacore, M Chaigneau, N Barrett, M Bollani, F Boioli, M Salvalaglio, F Montalenti, N Manini, L Caramella, P Biagioni, D Chrastina, G Isella, O Renault, M Zani, R Sordan, G Onida, R Ossikovski, H-J Drouhin, A Tagliaferri APS Physics Logo | © APS Physics Physical Review B
URL: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.88.115309
Date: 2021
Instruments: NanoESCA

Strain engineering in SiGe nanostructures is fundamental for the design of optoelectronic devices at the nanoscale. Here we explore a new strategy, where SiGe structures are laterally confined by the Si substrate, to obtain high tensile strain yet avoid the use of external stressors, thus improving the scalability. Spectromicroscopy techniques, finite element method simulations, and ab initio calculations are used to investigate the strain state of laterally confined Ge-rich SiGe nanostripes. Strain information is obtained by tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy with an unprecedented lateral resolution of ∼30 nm. The nanostripes exhibit a large tensile hydrostatic strain component, which is maximal at the center of the top free surface and becomes very small at the edges. The maximum lattice deformation is larger than the typical values of thermally relaxed Ge/Si(001) layers. This strain enhancement originates from a frustrated relaxation in the out-of-plane direction, resulting from the combination of the lateral confinement induced by the substrate side walls and the plastic relaxation of the misfit strain in the (001) plane at the SiGe/Si interface. The effect of this tensile lattice deformation at the stripe surface is probed by work function mapping, which is performed with a spatial resolution better than 100 nm using x-ray photoelectron emission microscopy. The nanostripes exhibit a positive work function shift with respect to a bulk SiGe alloy, quantitatively confirmed by electronic structure calculations of tensile-strained configurations. The present results have a potential impact on the design of optoelectronic devices at a nanometer-length scale.