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Mechanisms of strain relaxation and defect formation during surface roughening in Si1-xGex films grown epitaxially on (100)Si substrates have been investigated by controlled annealing experiments. Epitaxial films 10 nm in thickness and containing 18% Ge, which are subcritical with respect to the formation of misfit dislocations, show strain relaxation through surface roughening on annealing at 850 °C, where surface grooves are aligned along <100> directions. Other films with 22% Ge and supercritical thicknesses have also been studied, where surface grooves are aligned along <110> directions. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.
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