The Constrained Growth and Patterned Distribution of nc-Si from a-SiNx/a-Si:H/a-SiNx: Mechanism and Experiments


We get size-controlled nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si) from a-SiNx/a-Si:H/a-SiNx sandwich structures by thermal annealing. Transmission electron microscope analyses show that the mean size and the grain size distribution (GSD) of the nc-Si are controlled by the annealing conditions and the a-Si sublayer thickness. We build a theoretical model of constrained crystallization which can well interpret the phenomena of the growth halt of nc-Si and higher crystallization temperature for the thinner a-Si sublayer. The experimental results indicate that constrained crystallization method is promising to achieve uniform and high density nc-Si array either by thermal annealing or by laser annealing. Based on this investigation we employ the method of laser interference crystallization (LIC) to fabricate nanocrystal Si with the two-dimensional (2D) patterned distribution within 10 nm thick a-Si:H single layer. Si nano-crystallites are selectively located in the discal regions within the initial a-Si:H layer. The present method is promising to fabricate various patterned nc-Si arrays for device applications simply by changing the geometry of the mask.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the supports of State Key Program for Basic Research of China (Grant No.2001 CB 610503) and the National Nature Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 90101020, 60471021 and 90301009).

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Correspondence to K.J. Chen.

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Chen, K., Chen, K., Wu, L. et al. The Constrained Growth and Patterned Distribution of nc-Si from a-SiNx/a-Si:H/a-SiNx: Mechanism and Experiments. MRS Online Proceedings Library 849, 64–68 (2004).

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