Formation of Compositionally Abrupt Axial Heterojunctions in Silicon-Germanium Nanowires

Science  27 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5957, pp. 1247-1250
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178606

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We have formed compositionally abrupt interfaces in silicon-germanium (Si-Ge) and Si-SiGe heterostructure nanowires by using solid aluminum-gold alloy catalyst particles rather than the conventional liquid semiconductor–metal eutectic droplets. We demonstrated single interfaces that are defect-free and close to atomically abrupt, as well as quantum dots (i.e., Ge layers tens of atomic planes thick) embedded within Si wires. Real-time imaging of growth kinetics reveals that a low solubility of Si and Ge in the solid particle accounts for the interfacial abruptness. Solid catalysts that can form functional group IV nanowire-based structures may yield an extended range of electronic applications.

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