Theoretical and Experimental Evidences of Sequential Phase Formation during Sub-Nanometric-Thick Film Reactive Diffusion
Silicide sequential phase formation during tens-of-nanometer-thick metallic film reaction on Si substrate has been extensively studied. Nevertheless, the reasons of sequential phase formation are still under debate, and have been poorly studied at the atomic scale. Using atomistic kinetic Monte Carlo simulations, we show that considering a binary fcc non-regular solid solution, without diffusion asymmetries, the diffusive reaction of a sub-nanometer-thick film (~5 atomic monolayers) on a semi-infinite substrate leads to the sequential formation of all the phases present in the binary phase diagram, starting with the film atom richest phase. These predictions are supported by experimental observations: the dissolution of a 4 monolayer-thick Si film on a Ni(111) substrate, during in-situ ultra high vacuum Auger electron spectroscopy, shows delays and kinetic changes in the dissolution process that may correspond to the sequential formation of the Ni-Si compounds, i.e. NiSi2, NiSi, Ni3Si2, Ni2Si, Ni31Si12 and Ni3Si.
Yves Bréchet, Emmanuel Clouet, Alexis Deschamps, Alphonse Finel and Frédéric Soisson
A. Portavoce et al., "Theoretical and Experimental Evidences of Sequential Phase Formation during Sub-Nanometric-Thick Film Reactive Diffusion", Solid State Phenomena, Vols. 172-174, pp. 633-639, 2011