Journal of Applied Physics

Supersaturating silicon with transition metals by ion implantation and pulsed laser melting

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We investigate the possibility of creating an intermediate band semiconductor by supersaturating Si with a range of transition metals (Au, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pd, Pt, W, and Zn) using ion implantation followed by pulsed laser melting (PLM). Structural characterization shows evidence of either surface segregation or cellular breakdown in all transition metals investigated, preventing the formation of high supersaturations. However, concentration-depth profiling reveals that regions of Si supersaturated with Au and Zn are formed below the regions of cellular breakdown. Fits to the concentration-depth profile are used to estimate the diffusive speeds, vD, of Au and Zn, and put lower bounds on vD of the other metals ranging from 102 to 104 m/s. Knowledge of vD is used to tailor the irradiation conditions and synthesize single-crystal Si supersaturated with 1019 Au/cm3 without cellular breakdown. Values of v D are compared to those for other elements in Si. Two independent thermophysical properties, the solute diffusivity at the melting temperature, Ds(Tm), and the equilibrium partition coefficient, k e, are shown to simultaneously affect vD. We demonstrate a correlation between vD and the ratio Ds(T m)/ke0.67, which is exhibited for Group III, IV, and V solutes but not for the transition metals investigated. Nevertheless, comparison with experimental results suggests that Ds(T m)/ke0.67 might serve as a metric for evaluating the potential to supersaturate Si with transition metals by PLM. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.