Modifying germanium nanowires for future devices: an in situ TEM study

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Kelly, Róisín A.
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University College Cork
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Germanium was of great interest in the 1950’s when it was used for the first transistor device. However, due to the water soluble and unstable oxide it was surpassed by silicon. Today, as device dimensions are shrinking the silicon oxide is no longer suitable due to gate leakage and other low-κ dielectrics such as Al2O3 and HfO2 are being used. Germanium (Ge) is a promising material to replace or integrate with silicon (Si) to continue the trend of Moore’s law. Germanium has better intrinsic mobilities than silicon and is also silicon fab compatible so it would be an ideal material choice to integrate into silicon-based technologies. The progression towards nanoelectronics requires a lot of in depth studies. Dynamic TEM studies allow observations of reactions to allow a better understanding of mechanisms and how an external stimulus may affect a material/structure. This thesis details in situ TEM experiments to investigate some essential processes for germanium nanowire (NW) integration into nanoelectronic devices; i.e. doping and Ohmic contact formation. Chapter 1 reviews recent advances in dynamic TEM studies on semiconductor (namely silicon and germanium) nanostructures. The areas included are nanowire/crystal growth, germanide/silicide formation, irradiation, electrical biasing, batteries and strain. Chapter 2 details the study of ion irradiation and the damage incurred in germanium nanowires. An experimental set-up is described to allow for concurrent observation in the TEM of a nanowire following sequential ion implantation steps. Grown nanowires were deposited on a FIB labelled SiN membrane grid which facilitated HRTEM imaging and facile navigation to a specific nanowire. Cross sections of irradiated nanowires were also performed to evaluate the damage across the nanowire diameter. Experiments were conducted at 30 kV and 5 kV ion energies to study the effect of beam energy on nanowires of varied diameters. The results on nanowires were also compared to the damage profile in bulk germanium with both 30 kV and 5 kV ion beam energies. Chapter 3 extends the work from chapter 2 whereby nanowires are annealed post ion irradiation. In situ thermal annealing experiments were conducted to observe the recrystallization of the nanowires. A method to promote solid phase epitaxial growth is investigated by irradiating only small areas of a nanowire to maintain a seed from which the epitaxial growth can initiate. It was also found that strain in the nanowire greatly effects defect formation and random nucleation and growth. To obtain full recovery of the crystal structure of a nanowire, a stable support which reduces strain in the nanowire is essential as well as containing a seed from which solid phase epitaxial growth can initiate. Chapter 4 details the study of nickel germanide formation in germanium nanostructures. Rows of EBL (electron beam lithography) defined Ni-capped germanium nanopillars were extracted in FIB cross sections and annealed in situ to observe the germanide formation. Chapter 5 summarizes the key conclusions of each chapter and discusses an outlook on the future of germanium nanowire studies to facilitate their future incorporation into nanodevices.
Germanium , Nanowire , Irradiation , Recrystallisation , Germanide
Kelly, R. A. 2016. Modifying germanium nanowires for future devices: an in situ TEM study. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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