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Ge redistribution in SiO2/SiGe structures under thermal oxidation: Dynamics and predictions


Several fundamental aspects of the oxidation-induced redistribution of Ge in thin films of SiGe are studied. This includes the incorporation of Ge into the oxide and the formation of what is alternatively referred to as pile-up, snow-plow, or a germanium-rich layer. Experimental data from the present work shows longer oxidation times leading to an increase of Ge content in the pile-up region and eventually creating a single high Ge content pile-up layer by entirely consuming the initial SiGe layer. The pile-up effect was shown to occur at the oxidation interface, with the highest Ge content occurring at the same interface. For a given oxide thickness, the redistribution of Ge and the formation of a pile-up region was shown experimentally to be independent of temperature in the range between 800 °C and 1000 °C. Simulations using common models for the oxidation of Si and diffusion of Si in SiGe indicate that temperature does have an influence on the composition of the pile-up layer, though the range of achievable compositions is limited. The flux of Si due to diffusion of Si in SiGe relative to the oxidation-induced flux of Si out of the SiGe is integral to the formation and dimensions of a pile-up region. Two predictive relations were derived for describing the dynamics of oxidation of SiGe. The first relation is given for determining the pile-up layer thickness as a function of oxide thickness and the composition of the pile-up layer. The second relation assumes a limited supply of Si and is for determination of the minimum initial thickness of a SiGe layer to avoid oxidation of Ge. The validity of these equations was confirmed experimentally by RBS and XPS data from the present work. The proposed models may be used in nanostructuring of thin films of SiGe by oxidation and in the design of core-shell structures and transistors. This is all done with a focus on oxidation of epitaxial thin films (< 100 nm) of Si1-XGeX in dry O2 at 1 atm between 800 °C and 1000 °C.
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Academic article


  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 185598




  • Ethan Schuyler Long
  • Alexander Azarov
  • Frode Kløw
  • Augustinas Galeckas
  • Andrej Kuznetsov
  • Spyridon Diplas


  • University of Oslo
  • SINTEF Industry / Sustainable Energy Technology



Published in

Journal of Applied Physics




AIP Publishing (American Institute of Physics)





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