Crystallisation of Amorphous Germanium Thin Films
ABSTRACT By combining cross-sectional transmission and scanning electron microscopy with Raman scattering we have investigated the mechanism of nanocrystal formation in ultrathin amorphous SiO2/Ge/SiO2 trilayers grown by e-beam evaporation as a function of annealing temperature and a-Ge layer thickness. We observe that with decreasing a-Ge thickness the amorphous-to-crystalline (a-to-c) transition occurs at considerably higher temperatures, even avoiding crystallisation for very thin films below 2 nm thickness. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the formation of Ge nanocrystals by annealing at around 900 degrees C takes place driven by a liquid-mediated mechanism. As indicated by the observed microstructure, the metallic liquid film dewets from the surface forming droplets that upon cooling and under the influence of the SiO2 capping layer, solidify into barrel-type nanocrystals.
SourceAvailable from: Luis De Los Santos Valladares[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In this work we report the surface morphology of amorphous germanium (a-Ge) thin films (140 nm thickness) following thermal outgassing of SiO2/Si substrates. The thermal outgassing was performed by annealing the samples in air at different temperatures from 400 to 900 °C. Annealing at 400 °C in slow (2 °C/min) and fast (10 °C/min) modes promotes the formation of bubbles on the surface. A cross sectional view by transmission electron microscope taken of the sample slow annealed at 400 °C reveals traces of gas species embedded in the a-Ge film, allowing us to propose a possible mechanism for the formation of the bubbles. The calculated internal pressure and number of gas molecules for this sample are 30 MPa and 38 × 108, respectively. Over an area of 22 × 10−3 cm2 the density of bubbles obtained at slow annealing (9 × 103 cm−2) is smaller than that at rapid annealing (6.4 × 104 cm−2), indicating that the amount of liberated gas in both cases is only a fraction of the total gas contained in the substrate. After increasing the annealing temperature in the slow mode, bubbles of different diameters (from tens of nanometers up to tens of micrometers) randomly distribute over the Ge film and they grow with temperature. Vertical diffusion of the outgas species through the film dominates the annealing temperature interval 400–600 °C, whereas coalescence of bubbles caused by lateral diffusion is detected after annealing at 700 °C. The bubbles explode after annealing the samples at 800 °C. Annealing at higher temperatures, such as 900 °C, leads to surface migration of the film to the exploded bubbles and eventually forming islands of polycrystalline GeO2.Applied Surface Science 10/2014; 316:15–21. DOI:10.1016/j.apsusc.2014.07.073 · 2.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Design of monodisperse ultra-small nanocrystals (NCs) into large scale patterns with ad hoc features is demonstrated. The process makes use of solid state dewetting of a thin film templated through alloy liquid metal ion source focused ion beam (LMIS-FIB) nanopatterning. The solid state dewetting initiated at the edges of the patterns controllably creates the ordering of NCs with ad hoc placement and periodicity. The NC size is tuned by varying the nominal thickness of the film while their position results from the association of film retraction from the edges of the lay out and Rayleigh-like instability. The use of ultra-high resolution LMIS-FIB enables to produce monocrystalline NCs with size, periodicity, and placement tunable as well. It provides routes for the free design of nanostructures for generic applications in nanoelectronics.Applied Physics Letters 07/2012; 101(1). DOI:10.1063/1.4730620 · 3.52 Impact Factor