Influence of alloy inhomogeneities on the determination by Raman scattering of composition and strain in Si <inf>1-x</inf>Ge <inf>x</inf>/Si(001) layers

J. S. Reparaz, I. C. Marcus, A. R. Goñi, M. Garriga, M. I. Alonso

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    In this work, we investigate the influence of alloy composition inhomogeneities on the vibrational properties of strained Si 1-xGe x/Si layers with x ranging from 0 to 0.5. We show that the frequencies of the principal alloy vibrational modes (Ge-Ge, Si-Ge, and Si-Si) are strongly influenced by the distribution of Ge atoms within the alloy layers, which becomes gradually random following a series of sequential annealing steps. Our measurements suggest that the composition dependence of the optical phonon frequencies in fully random and unstrained alloys is well described by the results previously published by Alonso and Winer [Phys. Rev. B 39, 10056 (1989)]. In the general case of an alloy layer with unknown degree of compositional inhomogeneity and/or strain relaxation, though the analysis of the Raman spectra is not straightforward. Therefore, we propose an analytical/graphical method to accurately estimate the Ge content and residual strain of SiGe layers exhibiting any level of compositional disorder or strain status, by performing a single Raman measurement. This would be extremely useful in situations where x-ray measurements cannot be conducted. We show that our procedure to treat the Raman data holds for the whole compositional range but with different accuracy depending upon the case: (i) For annealed SiGe layers (mostly strain relaxed) the Ge content x can be directly determined with high accuracy of ± 0.01. (ii) For strained samples (usually as-grown samples) an extra criterion must be adopted seeking for a graphical solution, accounting for the degree of compositional inhomogeneity. In this case, the error in the determination of Ge content depends on alloy composition, being the upper bound ± 0.02 for x 0.3 and ± 0.03 for x > 0.3. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number023512
    JournalJournal of Applied Physics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2012


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