Formation of Nanocrystalline Silicon in Tin-Doped Amorphous Silicon Films
Keywords:nanocrystalline silicon, metal-induced crystallization, tin
The process of crystalline silicon phase formation in tin-doped amorphous silicon (a-SiSn) films has been studied. The inclusions of metallic tin are shown to play a key role in the crystallization of researched a-SiSn specimens with Sn contents of 1–10 at% at temperatures of 300–500 ∘C. The crystallization process can conditionally be divided into two stages. At the first stage, the formation of metallic tin inclusions occurs in the bulk of as-precipitated films owing to the diffusion of tin atoms in the amorphous silicon matrix. At the second stage, the formation of the nanocrystalline phase of silicon occurs as a result of the motion of silicon atoms from the amorphous phase to the crystalline one through the formed metallic tin inclusions. The presence of the latter ensures the formation of silicon crystallites at a much lower temperature than the solid-phase recrystallization temperature (about 750 ∘C). A possibility for a relation to exist between the sizes of growing silicon nanocrystallites and metallic tin inclusions favoring the formation of nanocrystallites has been analyzed.
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