Morphology Analysis of Si Island Arrays on Si(001)

A González-González*, M Alonso, E Navarro, JL Sacedón and A Ruiz

Author Affiliations

Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM–CSIC), C/Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 3, Cantoblanco, Madrid, 28049, Spain

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2010, 5:1882-1887  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9725-8

Published: 11 August 2010


The formation of nanometer-scale islands is an important issue for bottom-up-based schemes in novel electronic, optoelectronic and magnetoelectronic devices technology. In this work, we present a detailed atomic force microscopy analysis of Si island arrays grown by molecular beam epitaxy. Recent reports have shown that self-assembled distributions of fourfold pyramid-like islands develop in 5-nm thick Si layers grown at substrate temperatures of 650 and 750°C on HF-prepared Si(001) substrates. Looking for wielding control and understanding the phenomena involved in this surface nanostructuring, we develop and apply a formalism that allows for processing large area AFM topographic images in a shot, obtaining surface orientation maps with specific information on facets population. The procedure reveals some noticeable features of these Si island arrays, e.g. a clear anisotropy of the in-plane local slope distributions. Total island volume analysis also indicates mass transport from the substrate surface to the 3D islands, a process presumably related to the presence of trenches around some of the pyramids. Results are discussed within the framework of similar island arrays in homoepitaxial and heteroepitaxial semiconductor systems.

Silicon nanostructures; Molecular beam epitaxy; Self-assembly; Scanning probe microscopy; Morphology analysis