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Structure, Growth Kinetics, and Ledge Flow during Vapor−Solid−Solid Growth of Copper-Catalyzed Silicon Nanowires

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posted on 10.02.2010, 00:00 authored by C.-Y. Wen, M. C. Reuter, J. Tersoff, E. A. Stach, F. M. Ross
We use real-time observations of the growth of copper-catalyzed silicon nanowires to determine the nanowire growth mechanism directly and to quantify the growth kinetics of individual wires. Nanowires were grown in a transmission electron microscope using chemical vapor deposition on a copper-coated Si substrate. We show that the initial reaction is the formation of a silicide, η′-Cu3Si, and that this solid silicide remains on the wire tips during growth so that growth is by the vapor−solid−solid mechanism. Individual wire directions and growth rates are related to the details of orientation relation and catalyst shape, leading to a rich morphology compared to vapor−liquid−solid grown nanowires. Furthermore, growth occurs by ledge propagation at the silicide/silicon interface, and the ledge propagation kinetics suggest that the solubility of precursor atoms in the catalyst is small, which is relevant to the fabrication of abrupt heterojunctions in nanowires.