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Direct measurement of free-energy barrier to nucleation of crystallites in amorphous silicon thin filmsA method is introduced to measure the free-energy barrier W(sup *), the activation energy, and activation entropy to nucleation of crystallites in amorphous solids, independent of the energy barrier to growth. The method allows one to determine the temperature dependence of W(sup *), and the effect of the preparation conditions of the initial amorphous phase, the dopants, and the crystallization methds on W(sup *). The method is applied to determine the free-energy barrier to nucleation of crystallites in amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin films. For thermally induced nucleation in a-Si thin films with annealing temperatures in the range of from 824 to 983 K, the free-energy barrier W(sup *) to nucleation of silicon crystals is about 2.0 - 2.1 eV regardless of the preparation conditions of the films. The observation supports the idea that a-Si transforms into an intermediate amorphous state through the structural relaxation prior to the onset of nucleation of crystallites in a-Si. The observation also indicates that the activation entropy may be an insignificant part of the free-energy barrier for the nucleation of crystallites in a-Si. Compared with the free-energy barrier to nucleation of crystallites in undoped a-Si films, a significant reduction is observed in the free-energy barrier to nucleation in Cu-doped a-Si films. For a-Si under irradiation of Xe(2+) at 10(exp 5) eV, the free-energy barrier to ion-induced nucleation of crystallites is shown to be about half of the value associated with thermal-induced nucleation of crystallites in a-Si under the otherwise same conditions, which is much more significant than previously expected. The present method has a general kinetic basis; it thus should be equally applicable to nucleation of crystallites in any amorphous elemental semiconductors and semiconductor alloys, metallic and polymeric glasses, and to nucleation of crystallites in melts and solutions.
Document ID
19950039946
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Authors
Shi, Frank G. (California Univ. Irvine, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Applied Physics
Volume: 76
Issue: 9
ISSN: 0021-8979
Subject Category
SOLID-STATE PHYSICS
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other