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Growth and characterization of 3C-SiC nanowires on silicon substrates using different catalysts

Sathish Chander Dhanabalan 1Marco Negri 1,2Giovanni Attolini 1Matteo Bosi 1Francesca Rossi 1Marco Campanini 1,2Francesco Boschi 2Paola Lagonegro 1Pierpaolo Lupo 1Giancarlo Salviati 1

1. IMEM- CNR (IMEM), Parma, Italy
2. Dipartimento di Fisica, Università, Viale G.P. Usberti 7/a, Parma 43100, Italy


Nanowires (NWs) open promising near-future perspectives for the design and fabrication of nano-scale devices. The main interests are in nanoelectronic devices (e.g. nano field-effect transistors), nano-electromechanical systems able to operate even in harsh environments, and nano-sensors exploiting the SiC NWs as biocompatible nanoprobes for biological systems.

 Cubic silicon carbide (b-SiC or 3C-SiC) is a wide band-gap semiconductor with high hardness, high electron mobility, high thermal conductivity and high resistance to chemical attack. Those properties make them a promising material for devices operating in harsh environments.

Further, functionalized 3C-silicon carbide nanowires have the potential to act as highly sensitive detector elements in bio-chemical field.

Here we report on the properties of  3C-SiC nanowires prepared on (100) silicon substrate using three different metal catalysts: nickel, iron and gold and following different growth procedures.

A 2 nm thick Nickel film was deposited on Si(100) substrate using an e-beam system; iron and gold have  been deposited as a thin layer (2 nm) using a sputtering system.

We used the more conventional nickel as reference catalyst, then Fe and Au to obtain better biocompatibility to use NWs in biological systems.

The nanowires have been grown in a home-made MOVPE reactor: the typical growth experiment involves two steps: thermal treatment  for 2 min (dewetting) to obtain a pattern distribution of metals, and finally epi-growth in mixtures of SiH4 , C3H8 for 5 minutes. The  C/Si ratio used in each growth was 1.6.

The nickel-deposited substrate was preheated at 1100°C for 2 minutes; iron at 1250°C and gold at 600°C, before introducing reagents.

The growth temperatures were 1100°C, 1250°C when we used Ni and Fe respectively. When we used Au the temperature was increased from 600 °C to the growth temperature of 1100°C in presence of propane.

X-ray diffraction (XRD) has been used  to identify the nanowires structure over large area. The morphology and crystal habit of the grown nanowires were further investigated by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) while Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) imaging and SAD patterns were used to determine the nanowires structure at the nanoscale.

From morphological point of view the SiC nanowires appear similar with a dense network distributed on the substrate, but their diameter was smaller for those grown using Ni respect to those with iron. In samples where the gold has been used, only a few NWs were obtained with a presence of Si flakes.

For all samples the cubic structure has been confirmed with X-ray and TEM.


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Related papers

Presentation: Poster at 17th International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy - ICCGE-17, General Session 8, by Marco Negri
See On-line Journal of 17th International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy - ICCGE-17

Submitted: 2013-04-03 15:15
Revised:   2013-07-17 14:01