For the first time a bulk growth of (111) 3C-SiC has been performed and new mechanisms of defects reduction have been observed on this orientation.

In a significant breakthrough, Picogeo s team of researchers has achieved a major milestone in the field of semiconductor materials with the publication of their paper titled "Advanced Approach of Bulk (111) 3C-SiC Epitaxial Growth" in the esteemed journal Microelectronic Engineering. For the first time, researchers have successfully accomplished bulk growth of (111) 3C-SiC, opening up new avenues in the development of high-performance devices. Previously, attempts to grow 3C-SiC films on (111) Si substrates faced challenges related to crystal quality, as well as issues like wafer cracks and bowing, hampering access to bulk growth.  The team's ground-breaking work relied on an innovative Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) growth methodology on 4-inch Si substrates. This enabled the growth of an impressive 230 mm thick layer of (111) 3C-SiC by melting the Si substrate within the CVD chamber. The resulting free-standing 3C-SiC served as the foundation for the growth of a bulk (111) 3C-SiC layer under high nitrogen (N2) fluxes.

A key discovery emerged from the molten potassium hydroxide (KOH) etching and subsequent scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigation. The researchers observed a substantial reduction in the concentration of stacking faults (SFs) when utilizing a N2 flux of 1600 standard cubic centimeters per minute (sccm), decreasing from (7.16 ± 0.04) × 103 cm−1 to (0.4 ± 0.3) × 103 cm−1. This reduction correlated with a marked increase in the intensity of the band-edge signal, a factor of ten higher on the surface compared to the equal (100) 3C-SiC grown thickness.

Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) investigations further unveiled a distinct mechanism for defect evolution in (111) 3C-SiC growth. Unlike the typical closure of SFs observed in (100) growths, where SFs from opposing {111} planes lead to Lomer and l-shaped dislocations, the researchers found that in (111) growths, SFs shred but do not interrupt each other during growth. Additionally, a reduction in the number of atomic planes comprising SF layers played a crucial role in the shrinkage of SF layers and their eventual self-closure. High Angle Annular Dark Field-Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (HAADF-STEM) provided further evidence of the crystal's ability to mitigate lattice mismatch until the SF was entirely suppressed. 

This ground-breaking research sheds light on the intricacies of defect evolution in (111) 3C-SiC, emphasizing the critical need to align growth parameters with defect kinetics to facilitate the adoption of (111) 3C-SiC in high-performance devices. 

The findings from this study hold immense promise for the semiconductor industry, potentially leading to significant advancements in the development of next-generation electronic devices! The research team's pioneering work represents a significant step forward in the pursuit of high-quality, high-performance semiconductor materials. 

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 Advanced approach of bulk (111) 3C-SiC epitaxial growth - ScienceDirect