In Situ Scanning Electron Microscopy Observation of the Pattern Formation on the Surface of Al/Ge Bilayer Films
When the Al/Ge/SiO2 bilayer films are annealed in-situ in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) at the temperatures lower than the crystallization temperature of amorphous Ge itself, the so-called metal-mediated-crystallization (MMC) takes place. In the course of MMC, crystalline Ge aggregates (Ge clusters) form in the bilayer films, which results in the formation and the evolution of impressive fractal patterns with branching on the free surface. In-situ SEM observations of annealed Al/Ge/SiO2 bilayer films indicate that the grain size of polycrystalline Al-layer influences the nucleation of Ge clusters and hence of fractal patterns. For the bilayer films containing larger Al grains, the nucleation rate of fractal patterns (Ge clusters) is faster and the number of patterns is larger.
T. Chandra, K. Tsuzaki, M. Militzer , C. Ravindran
H. Kumagai et al., "In Situ Scanning Electron Microscopy Observation of the Pattern Formation on the Surface of Al/Ge Bilayer Films", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 539-543, pp. 3568-3573, 2007