Synthesis and characterization of Ge nanocrystals embedded in high-k dielectric (HfO2) matrix

Synthesis And Characterization Of Ge Nanocrystals Embedded In High-k Dielectric (HfO2) Matrix

V. Saikiran1*, N. Manikanthababu1, N. Srinivasa Rao2, S. V. S. Nageswara Rao1, A. P. Pathak1

1School of Physics, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500046, India

2Department of Physics, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur 302017, India

Adv. Mater. Lett., 2016, 7 (12), pp 957-963

DOI: 10.5185/amlett.2016.6403

Publication Date (Web): Oct 12, 2016,


Trilayered HfO2/Ge/HfO2 thin films were grown on Si substrate by RF magnetron sputtering with HfO2 and Ge targets. The subsequent rapid thermal annealing (RTA) of these films at 700 & 800°C results in formation of Ge nanocrystals (NCs) in HfO2 matrix. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and micro-Raman spectroscopy measurements were performed to confirm the formation of Ge NCs in the annealed samples. XRD results indicate that the as-deposited samples show amorphous behaviour, whereas the annealed samples clearly confirm the crystallinity of the films. The average size of the Ge NCs was found to increase with an increase in annealing temperature. Raman scattering studies confirm that the annealed samples exhibit a shift in peak position corresponding to Ge-Ge optical phonon vibrations, which clearly indicates the formation of Ge NCs. Conversely, as-deposited samples were also irradiated with swift heavy ions of 150 MeV Au and 80 MeV Ni at a fluence of 3×1013 ions/cm2 to synthesize Ge NCs. The structural properties of pristine and irradiated samples have been studied by using X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy to substantiate the growth of Ge NCs upon irradiation. The results obtained by RTA are compared with the irradiated ones.


Ge nanocrystals, high-k dielectric HfO2, XRD, micro-raman, ion irradiation.

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