Publication
Applied Physics Letters
Paper

Diffusion versus oxidation rates in silicon-germanium alloys

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Abstract

We have studied the oxidation of SiGe alloys of different compositions (between 25 and 75 at.% Ge). All of the oxidations were performed at 900 °C in wet atmosphere on 7500-Å-thick films grown by molecular beam epitaxy. Below 50 at.% Ge, the oxidation remains similar to what has been described previously, i.e., initially, the rate is enhanced by the presence of Ge, the oxide formed is pure SiO2 and a Ge pileup forms at the SiO 2/Si-Ge interface. In these relatively thick films, we propose that after extended oxidation, the decrease of Si concentration at the interface slows down oxidation rates enough so that eventually, the oxide thickness for the SiGe alloys ends up smaller than that of pure Si. For alloys containing above 50 at.% Ge, a markedly different behavior is found: A two-layer oxide is formed, consisting of a mixed (Si,Ge) O2 layer near the surface, and a pure SiO2 layer underneath. The rates of oxidation in this case are even faster, since both Ge and Si are being oxidized. The general behavior is explained in terms of the balance of Si and Ge diffusion fluxes, to and from the interface, needed to sustain oxidation.

Date

01 Dec 1991

Publication

Applied Physics Letters

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