Massimo Zimbone, Andrey Sarikov, Corrado Bongiorno, Anna Marzegalli, Viviana Scuderi, Cristiano Calabretta, Leo Miglio, Francesco La Via
Acta Materialia

The presence of extended bi-dimensional defects is one of the key issues that hinder the use of wide band-gap materials hetero-epitaxially grown on silicon. In this work, we investigate, by STEM measurements and molecular dynamic simulations, the structure of two of the most important extended defect affecting the properties of cubic silicon carbide, 3C-SiC, hetero-epitaxially grown on (001) silicon substrates: (1) stacking faults (SFs) with their bounding threading dislocation arms, even along with unusual directions, and (2) inverted domain boundaries (IDBs). We found that these two defects are strictly correlated: IDBs lying in {111} planes are intrinsically coupled to one or more SFs. Moreover, we observed that threading partial dislocations (PDs), limiting the SFs, appear to have non-conventional line directions, such as [112], [123], and [134]. Molecular dynamics simulations show that [110] and [112] directions allow for stable dislocation structures, while in the unusual [123] and [134] directions, the PDs are composed of zig-zag dislocation lines in the [112] and [110] directions.