Inter-Diffusion of Iridium, Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium with Germanium
[62, (2), 211 ]
The down-scaling of nanoelectronic devices to ever smaller dimensions and greater performance has pushed silicon-based devices to their physical limits. Much effort is currently being invested in research to examine the feasibility of replacing Si by a higher mobility semiconductor, such as germanium, in niche high-performance metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) devices. Before Ge can be adopted in industry, a suitable contact material for the active areas of a transistor must be identified. It is proposed that platinum group metal (pgm) germanides be used for this purpose, in a similar manner as metal silicides are used in Si technology. Implementation of Ge-based technology requires a thorough understanding of the solid-state interactions in metal/Ge systems in order to foresee and avoid problems that may be encountered during integration. We present a systematic study of the solid-state interactions in germanide systems of four of the pgms: iridium, platinum, palladium and rhodium. Our approach was essentially twofold. Firstly, conventional thin film couples were used to study the sequence of phase formation in the germanide systems. Conventional thin film couples were also used to identify and monitor the dominant diffusing species during the formation of some of the germanides as these can influence the thermal stability of a device. Secondly, we observed and analysed several aspects of the lateral diffusion reactions in these four systems, including activation energies and diffusion mechanisms. Lateral diffusion couples were prepared by the deposition of thick rectangular islands of one material on to thin films of another material. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) and microprobe-Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (μRBS) were used to analyse several aspects of the thin film and lateral diffusion interactions respectively. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were also employed.