Defect- and strain-enhanced cavity formation and Au precipitation at nano-crystalline ZrO2/SiO2/Si interfaces

P. D. Edmondson, Y. Zhang, F. Namavar, C. M. Wang, Z. Zhu, W. J. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Defect- and strain-enhanced cavity formation and Au precipitation at the interfaces of a nano-crystalline ZrO2/SiO2/Si multilayer structure resulting from 2 MeV Au+ irradiation at temperatures of 160 and 400 K have been studied. Under irradiation, loss of oxygen is observed, and the nano-crystalline grains in the ZrO2 layer increase in size. In addition, small cavities are observed at the ZrO2/SiO2 interface with the morphology of the cavities being dependent on the damage state of the underlying Si lattice. Elongated cavities are formed when crystallinity is still retained in the heavily-damaged Si substrate; however, the morphology of the cavities becomes spherical when the substrate is amorphized. With further irradiation, the cavities appear to become stabilized and begin to act as gettering sites for the Au. As the cavities become fully saturated with Au, the ZrO2/SiO2 interface then acts as a gettering site for the Au. Analysis of the results suggests that oxygen diffusion along the grain boundaries contributes to the growth of cavities and that oxygen within the cavities may affect the gettering of Au. Mechanisms of defect- and strain-enhanced cavity formation and Au precipitation at the interfaces will be discussed with focus on oxygen diffusion and vacancy accumulation, the role of the lattice strain on the morphology of the cavities, and the effect of the binding free energy of the cavities on the Au precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Volume269
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2011

Keywords

  • Au precipitation
  • Cavity formation
  • Cavity morphology
  • Grain growth
  • Nano-crystalline zirconia
  • Oxygen migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

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