Preferred orientations of laterally grown silicon films over amorphous substrates using the vapor–liquid–solid technique


A novel method has been optimized so that adhesion layers are no longer needed to reliably deposit patterned gold structures on amorphous substrates. Using this technique allows for the fabrication of amorphous oxide templates known as micro-crucibles, which confine a vapor–liquid–solid (VLS) catalyst of nominally pure gold to a specific geometry. Within these confined templates of amorphous materials, faceted silicon crystals have been grown laterally. The novel deposition technique, which enables the nominally pure gold catalyst, involves the undercutting of an initial chromium adhesion layer. Using electron backscatter diffraction it was found that silicon nucleated in these micro-crucibles were 30% single crystals, 45% potentially twinned crystals and 25% polycrystals for the experimental conditions used. Single, potentially twinned, and polycrystals all had an aversion to growth with the {1 0 0} surface parallel to the amorphous substrate. Closer analysis of grain boundaries of potentially twinned and polycrystalline samples revealed that the overwhelming majority of them were of the 60° Σ3 coherent twin boundary type. The large amount of coherent twin boundaries present in the grown, two-dimensional silicon crystals suggest that lateral VLS growth occurs very close to thermodynamic equilibrium. It is suggested that free energy fluctuations during growth or cooling, and impurities were the causes for this twinning.

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