A comparison of strain relief in SiGe alloy layers during high temperature annealing and solid phase epitaxial crystallisation (SPEC) has shown that layers which are thermodynamically stable are also fully strained following SPEC, whereas metastable layers that relax at high temperatures also relax during SPEC. This is illustrated by the fact that a uniform SiGe layer with x=0.085 is stable during annealing at 1100°C for 60 sec and is fully strained following SPEC. In contrast, a uniform layer with x=0.17, which was fully strained as-grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), is shown to relax during high temperature annealing and during SPEC.
A depth dependent SPEC velocity is observed for metastable layers, with a decrease in velocity as the alloy layer begins to crystallise and an increase in velocity as strain relaxation proceeds.
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Kringhøj, P., Elliman, R.G. & Hansen, J.L. The Effect of Strain and Strain-Gradients on the Crystallisation Kinetics of Si1−xGex Alloy Layers. MRS Online Proceedings Library 321, 461–466 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-321-461