Gas-source growth of group IV semiconductors: III. Nucleation and growth of Ge/Si(001)

I. Goldfarb*, J. H.G. Owen, P. T. Hayden, D. R. Bowler, K. Miki, G. A.D. Briggs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth of Ge on Si(001) using gas-source molecular beam epitaxy (GSMBE) from GeH4, has been investigated in situ, by elevated-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy. While Si grows epitaxially in the Frank-van der Merwe mode, Ge grows heteroepitaxially in the Stranski-Krastanow mode. Nevertheless, at low coverages and/or low temperatures, comparison with Si growth from Si2H6 yields similar behaviour. At coverages less than one monolayer, the epitaxial strain is low enough to allow for such an Si-like growth, and at temperatures below 600 K neither Ge nor Si can grow properly due to hydrogen blockage of surface diffusion. The growth can be roughly divided into three different regimes, T<600 K (H-induced roughening), 600<T<700 K (island-nucleation mode), and T>700 K (step-flow mode), where the gas flux is the second important growth parameter since, together with the temperature, it determines the diffusion length. At coverages higher than one monolayer. Ge growth no longer resembles that of Si, and a series of complex Ge/Si(001) phase transitions takes place. At 600<T<700 K the sequence of phase transitions is as follows: (2 × 1)⇒(2 × N)⇒(M × N)⇒"hut" clusters. Growth at T>700 K changes the sequence to (2 × 1)⇒(2 × N)⇒(M × N)⇒"hut" pits⇒"hut" clusters. In this regime the wetting layer (8-9 ML) is significantly thicker than in the analogous solid-state MBE regime (3-4 ML). This difference can be attributed to the surfactant role of hydrogen present on the surface in the GSMBE process. A detailed Ge/Si(001) growth diagram, covering the temperatures mentioned above, is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
JournalSurface Science
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 19 Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Epitaxy
  • Germanium
  • Growth
  • Scanning tunnelling microscopy
  • Silicon
  • Surface roughening


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