Self-limiting size control of hemispherical grains of microcrystalline Si self-assembled on an amorphous Si film surface

Akazawa, Housei
March 2003
Applied Physics Letters;3/3/2003, Vol. 82 Issue 9, p1464
Academic Journal
When a hydrogen-free amorphous silicon film deposited by rf plasma sputtering is annealed at temperatures above 540°C, hemispherical grains of microcrystalline Si nucleate on its surface. The film surface is maintained macroscopically flat without any protrusions around the grains, indicating that only Si atoms at the outermost surface aggregate into grains. The size distribution of the grains was very narrow; the deviation from the mean was less than 8%. Even when the annealing temperature was varied between 600 and 850°C, the mean base radii and the mean heights of the grains stayed within the ranges of 45 to 48.5 and 35 to 42 nm, respectively. Also, 3 h of annealing produced a saturation of the self-assembling process. This observation suggests that the grain size can be controlled in a self-limiting manner in terms of the temperature and period of annealing.


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