Stress relaxation in mismatched layers due to threading dislocation inclination
A recently observed mechanism of elastic stress relaxation in mismatched layers is discussed. The relaxation is achieved by the inclination of pure edge threading dislocation lines with respect to the layer surface normal. The relaxation is not assisted by dislocation glide but rather is caused by the "effective climb" of edge dislocations. The effective dislocation climb may result from the film growth and it is not necessarily related to bulk diffusion processes. The contribution of the dislocation inclination to strain relaxation has been formulated and the energy release due to the dislocation inclination in mismatched stressed layers has been determined. This mechanism explains recently observed relaxation of compressive stresses in the (0001) growth of AlxGa1-xN layers. (C) 2003 American Institute of Physics.