Structural transition in sputter-deposited amorphous germanium films by aging at ambient temperature

M Okugawa and R Nakamura and M Ishimaru and K Watanabe and H Yasuda and H Numakura, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 119, 214309 (2016).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4953234

The structure of amorphous Ge (a-Ge) films prepared by sputter- deposition and the effects of aging at ambient temperature and pressure were studied by pair-distribution-function (PDF) analysis from electron scattering and molecular dynamics simulations. The PDFs of the as- deposited and aged samples for 3-13 months showed that the major peaks for Ge-Ge bonds decrease in intensity and broaden with aging for up to 7 months. In the PDFs of a-Ge of molecular dynamics simulation obtained by quenching liquid at different rates, the major peak intensities of a slowly cooled model are higher than those of a rapidly cooled model. Analyses on short-and medium-range configurations show that the slowly cooled model includes a certain amount of medium-range ordered (MRO) clusters, while the rapidly cooled model includes liquid-like configurations rather than MRO clusters. The similarity between experimental and computational PDFs implies that as-deposited films are similar in structure to the slowly cooled model, whereas the fully aged films are similar to the rapidly cooled model. It is assumed that as they undergo room-temperature aging, the MRO clusters disintegrate and transform into liquid-like regions in the same matrix. This transition in local configurations is discussed in terms of instability and the non-equilibrium of nanoclusters produced by a vapor-deposition process. Published by AIP Publishing.

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