Open Access Nano Express

Growth and characterization of gold catalyzed SiGe nanowires and alternative metal-catalyzed Si nanowires

Alexis Potié13*, Thierry Baron1*, Florian Dhalluin1, Guillaume Rosaz1, Bassem Salem1, Laurence Latu-Romain1, Martin Kogelschatz1, Pascal Gentile2, Fabrice Oehler2, Laurent Montès3, Jens Kreisel4 and Hervé Roussel4

Author Affiliations

1 LTM/CNRS-CEA-LETI, 17, rue des martyrs, 38054 Grenoble, France

2 CEA/INAC/SiNaPS, 17, rue des martyrs, 38054 Grenoble, France

3 IMEP-LAHC, Grenoble Institute of Technology, MINATEC, BP 257, 3 parvis Louis NEEL 38016 Grenoble, France

4 LMGP, CNRS, Grenoble Institue of Technology, 3 parvis Louis Néel, 38016 Grenoble, France

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:187  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-187

Published: 1 March 2011


The growth of semiconductor (SC) nanowires (NW) by CVD using Au-catalyzed VLS process has been widely studied over the past few years. Among others SC, it is possible to grow pure Si or SiGe NW thanks to these techniques. Nevertheless, Au could deteriorate the electric properties of SC and the use of other metal catalysts will be mandatory if NW are to be designed for innovating electronic. First, this article's focus will be on SiGe NW's growth using Au catalyst. The authors managed to grow SiGe NW between 350 and 400°C. Ge concentration (x) in Si1-xGex NW has been successfully varied by modifying the gas flow ratio: R = GeH4/(SiH4 + GeH4). Characterization (by Raman spectroscopy and XRD) revealed concentrations varying from 0.2 to 0.46 on NW grown at 375°C, with R varying from 0.05 to 0.15. Second, the results of Si NW growths by CVD using alternatives catalysts such as platinum-, palladium- and nickel-silicides are presented. This study, carried out on a LPCVD furnace, aimed at defining Si NW growth conditions when using such catalysts. Since the growth temperatures investigated are lower than the eutectic temperatures of these Si-metal alloys, VSS growth is expected and observed. Different temperatures and HCl flow rates have been tested with the aim of minimizing 2D growth which induces an important tapering of the NW. Finally, mechanical characterization of single NW has been carried out using an AFM method developed at the LTM. It consists in measuring the deflection of an AFM tip while performing approach-retract curves at various positions along the length of a cantilevered NW. This approach allows the measurement of as-grown single NW's Young modulus and spring constant, and alleviates uncertainties inherent in single point measurement.