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The use of laser Raman spectroscopy to assess the residual strain in strained silicon/silicon germanium devices is well established. The peak shift associated with the 520cm−1 silicon peak can be used to directly measure the strain in the cap layer provided that the strained silicon peak can be deconvoluted from the more intense Si in SiGe peak which occurs at slightly lower wavenumbers. However, though peak position gives a measure of the macrostrains in the layer it is not useful for the assessment of microstrains associated with point defects which may also influence device performance; such microstrains influence the intensity of the Raman peaks and can, in principle, be monitored by this method. In this study we have undertaken a study of peak shape as a function of processing conditions for strained silicon on SiGe. Changes in peak position may be correlated with macrostrains and macrostrain relaxation around extended defects such as dislocations. Changes in peak width can be correlated with processes which lead to changes in composition (e.g. germanium build-up in the surface after etching) and microstrain. Such changes are not necessarily correlated with changes in macrostrain but indicate that microstrain could also be an important factor influencing device performance.
This work addresses the paucity of roughness measurements by reporting on roughness parameters in uniaxial strained Si beams relevant for state of the art MOSFETs, nanowire and MEMS devices, with varying degrees of strain. Roughness is characterized by high resolution AFM and strain is characterized by Raman spectroscopy. Microstructures comprising a silicon nitride actuator are used to induce a wide range of stress levels in Si beams. The microstructures also allow the comparison of surface evolution in the strain direction (along the Si beam) compared with the unstrained direction (across the Si beam). A gradual reduction in rms roughness amplitude and increase in roughness correlation length in the direction of the applied stress are found for increasing values of strain. In contrast, surface roughness in the direction perpendicular to the applied stress remained largely unchanged from the unstrained initial state.
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