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Silicon diffusion in AlN

V. Bonito Oliva1,2, D. Mangelinck3, S. Hagedorn4, H. Bracht5, K. Irmscher1, C. Hartmann1, P. Vennéguès2 and M. Albrecht1

Published in:

J. Appl. Phys., vol. 134, no. 9, pp. 095103, doi:10.1063/5.0159641 (2023).


In this study, we investigate the diffusion of Si donors in AlN. Amorphous Si1-xNx sputtered on the surface of bulk AlN with low dislocation density is used as a Si source. The diffusion experiments are conducted through isochronal and isothermal annealing in a protective N2 atmosphere at temperatures between 1500 and 1700 °C. The Si depth profiles measured by secondary ion mass spectrometry exhibit a convex box-like shape with a steep diffusion front. These concentration profiles are best described with a diffusion coefficient that depends on the square of local Si concentration. From the characteristic box-shaped Si profiles, we conclude that diffusion of Si in AlN is mediated by singly negatively charged dopant–vacancy pairs SiAlVAl¯. The strong concentration dependence of Si diffusion is due to the electric field associated with the incorporation of Si donors (SiAl+1) on substitutional Al lattice sites and reflects that Si is fully electrically active at diffusion temperature. The experimentally obtained extrinsic Si diffusion coefficient is reduced to intrinsic doping conditions. The temperature dependence of Si diffusion for intrinsic conditions is described by an activation enthalpy of (10.34±0.32) eV and a pre-exponential factor of 235-203+1485 cm2s-1. The migration enthalpy of the donor–vacancy pair SiAlVAl¯ is estimated to be around 3.5 eV. This estimation is based on the activation enthalpy of the transport capacity of SiAlVAl¯ and theoretical results concerning the formation energy of negatively charged vacancies on Al-sites in AlN.

1 Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung, Max-Born Straße 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Université Côte d’Azur, CRHEA-CNRS, rue B. Grégory, 06560 Valbonne, France
3 Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IM2NP, Faculté de Saint-Jérôme, 13397 Marseille cedex 20, France
4 Ferdinand-Braun-Institut (FBH), Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik, Gustav-Kirchhoff-Str. 4, 12489 Berlin, Germany
5 Institute of Materials Physics, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany


Defect diffusion, Diffusion, Doping, Diffusion coefficient, Annealing, Intrinsic properties, Nitrides, Arrhenius equation, Secondary ion mass spectrometry, Silicon

© 2023 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0159641

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