We study the growth and relaxation processes of Ge nano-clusters selectively grown by chemical vapor deposition on free-standing 90 nm wide Si(001) nano-pillars with a thin Si(0.23)Ge(0.77) buffer layer. We found that the dome-shaped SiGe layer with a height of about 28 nm as well as the Ge dot deposited on top of it partially relaxes, mainly by elastic lattice bending. The Si nano-pillar shows a clear compliance behavior-an elastic response of the substrate on the growing film-with the tensile strained top part of the pillar. Additional annealing at 800 °C leads to the generation of misfit dislocation and reduces the compliance effect significantly. This example demonstrates that despite the compressive strain generated due to the surrounding SiO(2) growth mask it is possible to realize an overall tensile strain in the Si nano-pillar and following a compliant substrate effect by using a SiGe buffer layer. We further show that the SiGe buffer is able to improve the structural quality of the Ge nano-dot.
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