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Role of the step curvature in the stabilization of coherently strained epitaxial structures

Abstract : Strained In 1Ϫx Ga x As epilayers have been grown on InP͑001͒ by molecular-beam epitaxy both for 2% compressive strain (xϭ0.18) and 2% tensile strain (xϭ0.75). After an initial stage of layer-by-layer growth, coherent three-dimensional structures were observed by scanning tunneling microscopy in both cases. The shape of these three-dimensional structures is determined by elastic relaxation of the strained layers: while compressive strain favors convex step curvatures leading to three-dimensional islands, a tensile strain favors concave curvatures leading to three-dimensional holes. It is shown using a two-dimensional Laplace-Young relationship that a tensile-step specific stress stabilizes the step curvature. ͓
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P Krapf, Y. Robach, Michel Gendry, L. Porte. Role of the step curvature in the stabilization of coherently strained epitaxial structures. Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, American Physical Society, 1997, 55,, ⟨10.1103/PhysRevB.55.R10229⟩. ⟨hal-02195284⟩

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