Using polarized Raman spectroscopy, we examine different vibrational modes (i.e., Si–Si, Si–Ge, and Ge–Ge) in Si/Ge self-organized nanostructures. Here, we present unambiguous proof that multilayers of Ge nanometer-size, “dome-shaped” islands grown on a 〈100〉 Si substrate are nearly fully relaxed and that the built-in strain field is substantially localized in the surrounding Si matrix. In contrast, multilayers with “pyramid-shaped” islands do not show observable relaxation. The large strain in the Si layers of the multilayer dome samples correlates with the greater self-organization in these structures compared to the multilayer pyramid samples.

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