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Open Access Nano Express

CMOS-compatible dense arrays of Ge quantum dots on the Si(001) surface: hut cluster nucleation, atomic structure and array life cycle during UHV MBE growth

Larisa V Arapkina and Vladimir A Yuryev*

Author Affiliations

A. M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute of RAS, 38 Vavilov Street, Moscow, 119991, Russia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:345  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-345

Published: 15 April 2011


We report a direct observation of Ge hut nucleation on Si(001) during UHV molecular beam epitaxy at 360°C. Nuclei of pyramids and wedges were observed on the wetting layer (WL) (M × N) patches starting from the coverage of 5.1 Å and found to have different structures. Atomic models of nuclei of both hut species have been built as well as models of the growing clusters. The growth of huts of each species has been demonstrated to follow generic scenarios. The formation of the second atomic layer of a wedge results in rearrangement of its first layer. Its ridge structure does not repeat the nucleus. A pyramid grows without phase transitions. A structure of its vertex copies the nucleus. Transitions between hut species turned out to be impossible. The wedges contain point defects in the upper corners of the triangular faces and have preferential growth directions along the ridges. The derived structure of the {105} facet follows the paired dimer model. Further growth of hut arrays results in domination of wedges, and the density of pyramids exponentially drops. The second generation of huts arises at coverages >10 Å; new huts occupy the whole WL at coverages ~14 Å. Nanocrystalline Ge 2D layer begins forming at coverages >14 Å.