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Structure and thermoelectric properties of boron doped nanocrystalline Si0.8Ge0.2 thin film

: Takashiri, M.; Borca-Tasciuc, T.; Jacquot, A.; Miyazaki, K.; Cheng, G.


Journal of applied physics 100 (2006), Nr.5, Art. 054315, 5 S.
ISSN: 0021-8979
ISSN: 1089-7550
Fraunhofer IPM ()
boron; Ge-Si alloy; semiconductor material; nanostructured material; semiconductor thin film; Seebeck effect; atomic force microscopy; x-ray diffraction; transmission electron microscopy; electrical conductivity; thermal conductivity; impurity distribution; segregation; grain boundaries

The structure and thermoelectric properties of boron doped nanocrystalline Si0.8 Ge0.2 thin films are investigated for potential application in microthermoelectric devices. Nanocrystalline Si0.8Ge0.2 thin films are grown by low-pressure chemical vapor deposition on a sandwich of Si3N4/SiO2/Si3N4 films deposited on a Si (100) substrate. The Si0.8Ge0.2 film is doped with boron by ion implantation. The structure of the thin film is studied by means of atomic force microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. It is found that the film has column-shaped crystal grains ~100nm in diameter oriented along the thickness of the film. The electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient are measured in the temperature range between 80300 and 130300K, respectively. The thermal conductivity is measured at room temperature by a 3omega method. As compared with bulk silicon-germanium and microcrystalline film alloys of nearly the same Si/Ge ratio and doping concentrations, the Si0.8Ge0.2 nanocrystalline film exhibits a twofold reduction in the thermal conductivitity, an enhancement in the Seebeck coefficient, and a reduction in the electrical conductivity. Enhanced heat carrier scattering due to the nanocrystalline structure of the films and a combined effect of boron segregation and carrier trapping at grain boundaries are believed to be responsible for the measured reductions in the thermal and electrical conductivities, respectively.