Interaction of oxygen and nitrogen impurities with dislocations in silicon single-crystals
An experimental technique based on the immobilisation of dislocations by segregation of impurity atoms to the dislocation core (dislocation locking) has been developed and used to investigate the critical conditions for slip occurrence in Czochralski-grown and nitrogen-doped floating-zone-grown silicon crystals. The accumulation of nitrogen and oxygen impurities along a dislocation and the resulting dislocation locking effect has been investigated in silicon samples subjected to different annealing conditions. In particular, the stress needed to unlock the dislocations after their decoration by impurities has been measured as a function of annealing duration and temperature. The approach used in this study has allowed the determination of new diffusivity data for oxygen and nitrogen in silicon in the technologically important range of temperatures 350-850°C. No other data covering such wide temperature range are available in the literature. In addition to transport properties, the binding energy of an impurity atom to a dislocation in silicon has been deduced from the experimental data in the case of oxygen and nitrogen impurities. A discussion in terms of the impurity species responsible for transport (monomers or dimers) and dislocation locking is also presented. The role of oxide precipitates in the generation of glide dislocation loops and the parameters affecting the occurrence of slip have been investigated in silicon samples containing precipitates of different sizes and different morphologies. The fundamental parameters deduced in this work have been used to develop a numerical model to investigate the effect of different heat treatments on the mechanical properties of silicon wafers containing a controlled distribution of impurities. This model has then been used to simulate real wafer processing conditions during device fabrication to show how they may be modified to increase dislocation locking. It is hoped that these results will have relevance to how wafers are processed in order to minimise or eliminate dislocation multiplication and consequent warpage.