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A systematic study of the structural properties and defect distribution of GaAs layers grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition on Si substrates misoriented 1°, 1.5°, 2°, 4°, and 6° from  toward  is reported. Double crystal x-ray rocking curves, cross-section and plan-view Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) are used to characterize the structural strain and defect distribution of as-grown and annealed GaAs layers. Both strain and defect density in the GaAs layers are found to be dependent of the degree of substrate misorientation as well as the direction in which measurements are made. Plan-view TEM shows an asymmetric distribution of microtwins in two perpendicular directions. There exists a correlation between the directionality of the strain and of the defect density. Furnace annealing at 850°C for 30 minutes in an arsine overpressure can reduce significantly the defects, the strain and the strain anisotropy. It is found that microtwins are of the highest density when the substrate is misoriented about 4 degrees for the as-grown samples. Though a reduction of defects after annealing occurs for all samples, the least misoriented one shows the most improvement.
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