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Strain analysis for the prediction of the preferential nucleation sites of stacked quantum dots by combination of FEM and APT

Jesús Hernández-Saz1*, Miriam Herrera1, Sébastien Duguay2 and Sergio I Molina1

Author Affiliations

1 INNANOMAT Group, Departamento de Ciencia de los Materiales e I.M. y Q.I., Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Cádiz, Campus Río San Pedro, s/n, Puerto Real, Cádiz 11510, Spain

2 GPM, Université et INSA de ROUEN, UMR CNRS 6634, BP 12, Avenue de l’université, Saint Etienne du Rouvray 76801, France

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:513  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-513

Published: 5 December 2013


The finite elements method (FEM) is a useful tool for the analysis of the strain state of semiconductor heterostructures. It has been used for the prediction of the nucleation sites of stacked quantum dots (QDs), but often using either simulated data of the atom positions or two-dimensional experimental data, in such a way that it is difficult to assess the validity of the predictions. In this work, we assess the validity of the FEM method for the prediction of stacked QD nucleation sites using three-dimensional experimental data obtained by atom probe tomography (APT). This also allows us to compare the simulation results with the one obtained experimentally. Our analysis demonstrates that FEM and APT constitute a good combination to resolve strain–stress problems of epitaxial semiconductor structures.