Three spin-on dielectric (SOD) shallow trench isolation (STI) structures were studied: nitride liner, nitride liner with anisotropic amorphous silicon (a-Si) bottom fill, and nitride liner with thin conformal a-Si. All samples received the same SOD material conditions and final thermal oxidation. Convergent beam electron diffraction determined the induced STI strain and has been shown to accurately measure strain on 60 nm active areas. The results revealed effects that the liners have in balancing stress induced by volume shrinkage of the SOD. The conformal a-Si liner decreased the shear force that causes dislocations that form at the bottom corners of STI structures.