Catastrophic degradation of the interface of epitaxial silicon carbide on silicon at high temperatures

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Applied Physics Letters, 2016, 109 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Author(s). Epitaxial cubic silicon carbide on silicon is of high potential technological relevance for the integration of a wide range of applications and materials with silicon technologies, such as micro electro mechanical systems, wide-bandgap electronics, and graphene. The hetero-epitaxial system engenders mechanical stresses at least up to a GPa, pressures making it extremely challenging to maintain the integrity of the silicon carbide/silicon interface. In this work, we investigate the stability of said interface and we find that high temperature annealing leads to a loss of integrity. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy analysis shows a morphologically degraded SiC/Si interface, while mechanical stress measurements indicate considerable relaxation of the interfacial stress. From an electrical point of view, the diode behaviour of the initial p-Si/n-SiC junction is catastrophically lost due to considerable inter-diffusion of atoms and charges across the interface upon annealing. Temperature dependent transport measurements confirm a severe electrical shorting of the epitaxial silicon carbide to the underlying substrate, indicating vast predominance of the silicon carriers in lateral transport above 25 K. This finding has crucial consequences on the integration of epitaxial silicon carbide on silicon and its potential applications.
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