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Nanoscale characterization of electrical transport at metal/3C-SiC interfaces

Jens Eriksson12*, Fabrizio Roccaforte1, Sergey Reshanov3, Stefano Leone4, Filippo Giannazzo1, Raffaella LoNigro1, Patrick Fiorenza1 and Vito Raineri1

Author Affiliations

1 CNR-IMM, Strada VIII n. 5, Zona Industriale, 95121, Catania, Italy

2 Scuola Superiore-Università di Catania, Via San Nullo 5/i, Catania, 95123, Italy

3 Acreo AB, Electrum 236, Kista, 16440, Sweden

4 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, 58183, Sweden

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:120  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-120

Published: 7 February 2011


In this work, the transport properties of metal/3C-SiC interfaces were monitored employing a nanoscale characterization approach in combination with conventional electrical measurements. In particular, using conductive atomic force microscopy allowed demonstrating that the stacking fault is the most pervasive, electrically active extended defect at 3C-SiC(111) surfaces, and it can be electrically passivated by an ultraviolet irradiation treatment. For the Au/3C-SiC Schottky interface, a contact area dependence of the Schottky barrier height (ΦB) was found even after this passivation, indicating that there are still some electrically active defects at the interface. Improved electrical properties were observed in the case of the Pt/3C-SiC system. In this case, annealing at 500°C resulted in a reduction of the leakage current and an increase of the Schottky barrier height (from 0.77 to 1.12 eV). A structural analysis of the reaction zone carried out by transmission electron microscopy [TEM] and X-ray diffraction showed that the improved electrical properties can be attributed to a consumption of the surface layer of SiC due to silicide (Pt2Si) formation. The degradation of Schottky characteristics at higher temperatures (up to 900°C) could be ascribed to the out-diffusion and aggregation of carbon into clusters, observed by TEM analysis.