Strain-driven mound formation of substrate under epitaxial nanoparticles

Tanya Gupta, James B. Hannon, J. Tersoff, Rudolf M. Tromp, John A. Ott, John Bruley, Daniel Artemus Steingart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We observe the growth of crystalline SiC nanoparticles on Si(001) at 900 °C using in situ electron microscopy. Following nucleation and growth of the SiC, there is a massive migration of Si, forming a crystalline Si mound underneath each nanoparticle that lifts it 4-5 nm above the initial growth surface. The volume of the Si mounds is roughly five to seven times the volume of the SiC nanoparticles. We propose that relaxation of strain drives the mound formation. This new mechanism for relieving interfacial strain, which involves a dramatic restructuring of the substrate, is in striking contrast to the familiar scenario in which only the deposited material restructures to relieve strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


  • AFM
  • LEEM
  • Si(100)
  • SiC
  • TEM
  • interfacial strain


Dive into the research topics of 'Strain-driven mound formation of substrate under epitaxial nanoparticles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this