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Segregation and precipitation of Er in Ge
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9.In particular, understanding behavior of Er during thermal processing of Ge is essential in our current studies of controllable Er doping of Ge nanostructures made by sequential implantation of bulk Ge with (i) Er ions at liquid nitrogen temperature in order to introduce a desirable concentration of Er and (ii) Ge ions to high doses at higher temperatures in order to induce a spontaneous formation of a nanoporous structure whose ligaments are uniformly doped with Er.
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12.Note that the sample annealed at [Fig. 2(c)] was prepared conventionally, by mechanical grinding followed by thinning in an ion-polishing system, while the dark contrast visible above the Ge sample surface in bright-field XTEM images in Figs. 2(a) and 2(b) is due to a protective Pt layer deposited on the sample surfaces before the cross sections were extracted in a dual-beam focused ion beam (FIB) instrument. We also note that Ge surface amorphization is expected during the initial stages of the ion-beam-assisted deposition of such a protective Pt layer (with Ga ions at room temperature) in the FIB. However, the facts that (i) Er precipitation is clearly observed at the interface in Figs. 2(a) and 2(b) and (ii) the thicknesses of the surface amorphous layers measured by RBS/C and XTEM are comparable strongly suggest that these surface amorphous layers are not an artifact of FIB sample preparation process.
13.Note that, for bombardment with ErO cluster ions, the depth profiles of Er and O atoms have a significant overlap since the heavier Er atom carries most of the kinetic energy of the ErO cluster. Indeed, calculations with the TRIM code (Ref. 14) show that the projected ranges of Er and O ions in Ge are 286 and , respectively.
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19.Additional studies are currently needed to ascertain if Er precipitation can be avoided when annealing temperatures are used and whether the amorphous phase recrystallization and Er segregation processes are different in bulk Ge, studied here, and Ge nanostructures.
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