Open Access Nano Express

Kinetics of Si and Ge nanowires growth through electron beam evaporation

Pietro Artoni12, Emanuele Francesco Pecora123, Alessia Irrera1* and Francesco Priolo12

Author Affiliations

1 MATIS IMM-CNR, Via Santa Sofia 64, I-95123 Catania, Italy

2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Catania, Via Santa Sofia 64, I-95123 Catania, Italy

3 CSFNSM - V.le A. Doria 6, I-95125 Catania, Italy

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:162  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-162

Published: 21 February 2011

Abstract

Si and Ge have the same crystalline structure, and although Si-Au and Ge-Au binary alloys are thermodynamically similar (same phase diagram, with the eutectic temperature of about 360°C), in this study, it is proved that Si and Ge nanowires (NWs) growth by electron beam evaporation occurs in very different temperature ranges and fluence regimes. In particular, it is demonstrated that Ge growth occurs just above the eutectic temperature, while Si NWs growth occurs at temperature higher than the eutectic temperature, at about 450°C. Moreover, Si NWs growth requires a higher evaporated fluence before the NWs become to be visible. These differences arise in the different kinetics behaviors of these systems. The authors investigate the microscopic growth mechanisms elucidating the contribution of the adatoms diffusion as a function of the evaporated atoms direct impingement, demonstrating that adatoms play a key role in physical vapor deposition (PVD) NWs growth. The concept of incubation fluence, which is necessary for an interpretation of NWs growth in PVD growth conditions, is highlighted.