Texture in thin film silicides and germanides: A review

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Applied Physics Reviews, Volume 3 (2016)




Silicides and germanides are compounds consisting of a metal and silicon or germanium. In the microelectronics industry, silicides are the material of choice for contacting silicon based devices (over the years, CoSi2, C54-TiSi2, and NiSi have been adopted), while germanides are considered as a top candidate for contacting future germanium based electronics. Since also strain engineering through the use of Si1− x Ge x in the source/drain/gate regions of MOSFET devices is an important technique for improving device characteristics in modern Si-based microelectronics industry, a profound understanding of the formation of silicide/germanide contacts to silicon and germanium is of utmost importance. The crystallographic texture of these films, which is defined as the statistical distribution of the orientation of the grains in the film, has been the subject of scientific studies since the 1970s. Different types of texture like epitaxy, axiotaxy, fiber, or combinations thereof have been observed in such films. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that film texture can have a profound influence on the formation and stability of silicide/germanide contacts, as it controls the type and orientation of grain boundaries (affecting diffusion and agglomeration) and the interface energy (affecting nucleation during the solid-state reaction). Furthermore, the texture also has an impact on the electrical characteristics of the contact, as the orientation and size of individual grains influences functional properties such as contact resistance and sheet resistance and will induce local variations in strain and Schottky barrier height. This review aims to give a comprehensive overview of the scientific work that has been published in the field of texture studies on thin film silicide/germanide contacts.

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