Crystallization of silicon in aluminium/amorphous-silicon multilayers

Toyohiko J. Konno, Robert Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


The crystallization of amorphous Si (a-Si) in Al/a-Si multilayer thin films has been investigated by ex situ and in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction and calorimetry. The a-Si crystallizes at about 200°C, a significantly lower temperature than for the pure elemental state, with a heat of crystallization of about 12 kJ (mol Si)−1. We show that crystalline Si (c-Si) nucleates within the Al layers and penetrates the Al as the c-Si grows. The speed of the growth of c-Si observed by in situ TEM was a few angstroms per second at 220°C. Al grains are separated and the layered structure is destroyed, while the Al(111) film texture is enhanced. The overall activation energy of the reaction, determined by calorimetry, is 1·2 ± 0·1 eV. We propose a model in which diffusion of Si through the Al grains and rearrangement of the Al grains occur simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-765
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical Magazine B: Physics of Condensed Matter; Statistical Mechanics, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Properties
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Dec


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