We report the critical effects of oxide on the growth of nanostructures through silicide formation. Under an in situ ultrahigh vacuum transmission electron microscope, it is observed from the conversion of Si nanowires into the metallic PtSi grains epitaxially through controlled reactions between lithographically defined Pt pads and Si nanowires. With oxide, instead of contact area, single crystal PtSi grains start forming either near the center between two adjacent pads or from the ends of Si nanowires, resulting in the heterostructure formation of Si/PtSi/Si. Without oxide, transformation from Si into PtSi begins at the contact area between them, resulting in the heterostructure formation of PtSi/Si/PtSi. The nanowire heterostructures have an atomically sharp interface with epitaxial relationships of Si(20-2)//PtSi(10-1) and Si//PtSi. Additionally, it has been observed that the existence of oxide significantly affects not only the growth position but also the growth behavior and the growth rate by two orders of magnitude. Molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to support our experimental results and the proposed growth mechanisms. In addition to fundamental science, the significance of the study matters for future processing techniques in nanotechnology and related applications as well.
- in situ TEM
- molecular dynamics simulations
- silicide nanowires
- Surface oxide