Aluminum silicide microparticles transformed from aluminum thin films by hypoeutectic interdiffusion
Department of Nano-Physics, Gachon University, 1342 Seongnamdaero, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 461-701, South Korea
Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:312 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-312Published: 21 June 2014
Aluminum silicide microparticles with oxidized rough surfaces were formed on Si substrates through a spontaneous granulation process of Al films. This microparticle formation was caused by interdiffusion of Al and Si atoms at hypoeutectic temperatures of Al-Si systems, which was driven by compressive stress stored in Al films. The size, density, and the composition of the microparticles could be controlled by adjusting the annealing temperature, time, and the film thickness. High-density microparticles of a size around 10 μm and with an atomic ratio of Si/Al of approximately 0.8 were obtained when a 90-nm-thick Al film on Si substrate was annealed for 9 h at 550°C. The microparticle formation resulted in a rapid increase of the sheet resistance, which is a consequence of substantial consumption of Al film. This simple route to size- and composition-controllable microparticle formation may lay a foundation stone for the thermoelectric study on Al-Si alloy-based heterogeneous systems.