Effect of hydrogen on nanoindentation-induced phase transformations in amorphous silicon

S. Ruffell, J. Vedi, J. E. Bradby, J. S. Williams
2009 Journal of Applied Physics  
The effect of local hydrogen concentration on nanoindentation-induced phase transformations has been investigated in ion-implanted amorphous silicon ͑a-Si͒. Elevated concentrations of H ranging from 5 ϫ 10 18 to 5 ϫ 10 20 cm −3 , over the depth of indentation-induced phase transformed zones have been formed in the a-Si by H ion-implantation. Indentation has been performed under conditions that result in phase transformed zones composed totally of Si-III/Si-XII in the "H-free" samples.
more » ... samples. Deformation during indentation and determination of phase transformation behavior has been examined by analysis of load/unload curves, Raman microspectroscopy, and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy ͑XTEM͒. With increasing H content, the probability of forming Si-III/Si-XII and the volume fraction of Si-III/Si-XII decrease. XTEM shows that these reduced volumes are randomly distributed within the phase transformed zone and are surrounded by indentation-induced a-Si. For a H concentration of 5 ϫ 10 20 cm −3 , the probability of forming Si-III/ Si-XII is reduced to 0.5 compared to 1 in "H-free" material and for those indents that exhibit the Si-III/Si-XII end phase the volume fraction is approximately 60 %. We suggest that the monohydride bonding configuration of Si and H in a-Si reduces the formation of the high pressure crystalline phases by retarding growth of the crystallites through a similar mechanism to that of hydrogen-retarded solid phase crystallization of a-Si to diamond cubic crystalline Si-I phase.
doi:10.1063/1.3267853 fatcat:7uftf43k6nbbnk6mgcpmv53aza