Rev.Adv.Mater.Sci. (RAMS)
No 1/2, Vol. 50, 2017, pages 69-75


A. Portavoce, J. Perrin-Toinin and K. Hoummada


Atomic transport in nano-crystals is still poorly studied experimentally. However, the knowledge of atomic transport kinetic and of the mechanisms allowing atoms to move in a volume exhibiting nano-scale dimensions (< 100 nm) is important for i) improving our fundamental knowledge concerning point defects' formation and migration energies, and atom-point defect interactions in nano-structures, as well as for ii) predicting mass transport in nano-structures, allowing the design of nano-structure fabrication processes to be developed at lower cost. In this article, atom probe tomography measurements were used to investigate the Ge distribution in 40 nm-wide Si nano-crystals in which the Ge flux was found to be ten times faster than in the bulk of a Si mono-crystal. The Ge atoms were found to be randomly distributed in the nano-crystals. No extended defect was found being able to explain an increase of Ge transport kinetic in the nanocrystals. Consequently, a scenario based on a higher equilibrium vacancy concentration at the nano-crystal surface (or interface) is proposed in order to explain the faster atomic kinetic measured in Si nano-crystals.

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