Methods for forming Ge epitaxial layer on Si (100) substrate have been vigorously sought due to potential applications of such structure as a virtual substrate for III-V devices on Si. Various methods were proposed to realize low threading dislocation density and smooth surface. To date, such methods involve more than one of thick (micrometer order) SiGe buffer growth process, high temperature annealing steps and CMP process, which could compromise reliability and suitability for production.
In this study, we report feasibility of a thin (in the order of 10nm) SiGe buffer layer to realize pure Ge epitaxial layer with good crystalinity, low threading dislocation density, and smooth surface without high temperature annealing steps and CMP process.
As a result, we achieved shorter time for growth of practical thickness of crystalline Ge on Si (100) substrate, and also get the high quality Ge epitaxial layer which has low threading dislocation density with very smooth surface.
Ge epitaxial layer and underlying thin SixGe1−x buffer layer were grown on Si (100) substrate using a cold wall UHV-CVD system. Source gases of Si and Ge were Si2H6 and GeH4, respectively. No carrier gas was used for this process. SiGe buffer layer was grown on Si(100) substrate at 450 – 520˚C. Two-step growth process was employed to grow Ge epitaxial layer on the buffer layer. Ge seed layer was grown at a low temperature (350–400˚C), followed by Ge thick layer growth at a high temperature (550–650˚C). XRD, TEM, EPD, and AFM were used for characterization of Ge epitaxial layer.
Optimization of growth temperature and source gas flow rate ratio enabled to obtain an effective buffer layer thinner than 10nm. The thin buffer layer realizes process time shortening, which is within 10min, and the smooth surface is realized without crosshatch structure. The buffer thickness is 1/160 to 1/1000 than that of previously known methods using thick SiGe buffer layers. Thin SiGe buffer also enabled process time shortening for Ge seed layer growth as two-dimensional Ge layer was formed faster on the thin SiGe buffer layer than on Si. XRD of the Ge seed layer showed 97% relaxation as grown and fully relaxed at 550˚C. The threading dislocation density of the top Ge layer was estimated below 1E7counts/cm2 by TEM and EPD.
The misfit dislocations oriented along  at the interface between the SiGe buffer layer and the Ge layer and the distances are 9.5nm constantly in cross-sectional TEM image. We are checking the surface roughness of the Ge epitaxial layer by using AFM.