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Published June 15, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Kinetics governing phase separation of nanostructured Sn_xGe_(1–x) alloys


We have studied the dynamic phenomenon of Sn_xGe_(1–x)/Ge phase separation during deposition by molecular beam epitaxy on Ge(001) substrates. Phase separation leads to the formation of direct band gap semiconductor nanowire arrays embedded in Ge oriented along the [001] growth direction. The effect of strain and composition on the periodicity were decoupled by growth on Ge(001) and partially relaxed Si_yGe_(1–y)/Ge(001) virtual substrates. The experimental results are compared with three linear instability models of strained film growth and find good agreement with only one of the models for phase separation during dynamic growth.

Additional Information

© 2006 The American Physical Society (Received 22 July 2005; revised 15 March 2006; published 5 June 2006) We would like to thank C.A. Ahn for help with electron microscopy. We thank W. Tong and P. W. Voorhees for discussions regarding analysis of the models, and are particularly grateful to B. J. Spencer for checking our use of the SVT model. We thank A. Polman's group at AMOLF in the Netherlands for the use of their accelerator for RBS analysis. R.R. acknowledges Intel as well as the University of California, Irvine for startup funds while the theoretical work was performed.

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