A low-resistance nonspiking Ohmic contact to n-GaAs is formed via solid-state reactions utilizing the Si/Pd/GaAs system. Samples with Si to Pd atomic ratios greater than 0.65 result in specific contact resistivity of the order of 10-6Ω cm2, whereas samples with atomic ratios less than 0.65 yield higher specific contact resistivities or rectifying contacts. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy, and electron diffraction patterns show that a Pd2Si layer is in contact with GaAs with excess Si on the surface after the Ohmic formation annealing. This observation contrasts with that on a previously studied Ge/Pd/Ga As contact where Ohmic behavior is detected after transport of Ge through PdGe to the interface with GaAs. Comparing the Ge/Pd/GaAs system with the present Si/Pd/ GaAs system suggests that a low barrier heterojunction between Ge and GaAs is not the primary reason for Ohmic contact behavior. Low-temperature measurements suggest that Ohmic behavior results from tunneling current transport mechanisms. A regrowth mechanism involving the formation of an n + GaAs surface layer is proposed to explain the Ohmic contact formation. © 1988, Materials Research Society. All rights reserved.