A possible mechanism for the formation of a 90° misfit dislocation at the Ge/Si(0 0 1) interface through homogeneous nucleation is identified from atomic scale calculations where a minimum energy path connecting the coherent epitaxial state and a final state with a 90° misfit dislocation is found using the nudged elastic band method. The initial path is generated using a repulsive bias activation procedure in a model system including 75 000 atoms. The energy along the path exhibits two maxima in the energy. The first maximum occurs as a 60° dislocation nucleates. The intermediate minimum corresponds to an extended 60° dislocation. The subsequent energy maximum occurs as a second 60° dislocation nucleates in a complementary, mirror glide plane, simultaneously starting from the surface and from the first 60° dislocation. The activation energy of the nucleation of the second dislocation is 30% lower than that of the first one showing that the formation of the second 60° dislocation is aided by the presence of the first one. The simulations represent a step towards unraveling the formation mechanism of 90° dislocations, an important issue in the design of growth procedures for strain released Ge overlayers on Si(1 0 0) surfaces, and more generally illustrate an approach that can be used to gain insight into the mechanism of complex nucleation paths of extended defects in solids.
|Journal||Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Feb 2016|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|