The Germanium "halo": Visualizing Ge interstitial dynamics in nanocrystallite formation

Thomas George, Tsung Lin Huang, Chui Yu Hsueh, Kang Ping Peng, Horng-Chih Lin, Pei-Wen Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the ability to image distributions of Ge interstitials within amorphous SiO2 matrices using conventional transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy mapping. While previous, established methods have only been able to indirectly infer the presence of interstitials within materials, our direct "visualization" approach allows the ability to study and better understand the dynamics of several interesting phenomena occurring within the Ge-Si-O system during processing at temperatures greater than 700 °C which has not been described in any previously published work. Experimental observations by TEM of the Ge interstitial dynamics has allowed us to clarify the various operating mechanisms for Ge nanocrystallite growth within these SiO2 matrices. These phenomena include Ostwald ripening, migration of Ge nanocrystallites through amorphous SiO2 and Si3N4 matrices, Ge incorporation in Si-rich materials such as Si3N4 and Si, and finally, morphological changes in the Ge nanocrystallites themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105502
JournalJapanese Journal of Applied Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

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