Thermal processing of strained silicon-on-insulator for atomically precise silicon device fabrication

W. C.T. Lee, N. Bishop, D. L. Thompson, K. Xue, G. Scappucci, J. G. Cederberg, J. K. Gray, S. M. Han, G. K. Celler, M. S. Carroll, M. Y. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We investigate the ability to reconstruct strained silicon-on-insulator (sSOI) substrates in ultra-high vacuum for use in atomic scale device fabrication. Characterisation of the starting sSOI substrate using μRaman shows an average tensile strain of 0.8%, with clear strain modulation in a crosshatch pattern across the surface. The surfaces were heated in ultra-high vacuum from temperatures of 900°C to 1100°C and subsequently imaged using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). The initial strain modulation on the surface is observed to promote silicon migration and the formation of crosshatched surface features whose height and pitch increases with increasing annealing temperature. STM images reveal alternating narrow straight S A steps and triangular wavy S B steps attributed to the spontaneous faceting of S B and preferential adatom attachment on S B under biaxial tensile strain. Raman spectroscopy shows that despite these high temperature anneals no strain relaxation of the substrate is observed up to temperatures of 1020°C. Above 1100°C, strain relaxation is evident but is confined to the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - Jan 15 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


  • Micro-Raman
  • STM fabrication
  • Silicon-on-insulator
  • Step formation
  • Strained silicon
  • Ultra-high vacuum


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