Study of strain fields at a-Si/c-Si interface

  • Yu Z
  • Muller D
  • Silcox J
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The contrast due to a strain field at an amorphous silicon/crystalline silicon (a-Si/c-Si) interface relative to the bulk crystal is studied with a scanning transmission electron microscope equipped with a low angle annular dark field (LAADF) detector and a high angle ADF (HAADF) detector. Experimental observations suggest that strain contrast depends closely on sample thickness and collection angle. For a thin sample (150 Angstrom) strain contrast is positive in the LAADF image and negative in the HAADF image. Theoretical calculations of the effect of a random strain field are carried out. First, a simple model based on atomic scattering with an extra Debye-Waller factor is employed. It predicts a positive strain contrast in the LAADF image and no contrast in the HAADF image. The simple model fails for the HAADF contrast because it does not consider the propagation process of the electron beam inside the sample. Therefore multislice simulations including propagation details are carried out. The multislice simulation results agree well with the experimental observations. A measure of the strain amplitude is attained by comparing the experimental data with multislice simulation results. Quantitative measurements of strain contrast are only possible if the sample thickness is known. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.

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