Industrial Chemistry

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The structure-property relationships of amorphous group IV semiconductors such as germanium (a-Ge) have attracted wide research interest over the past decades.1–4 The materials have great technological significance because of their broad range of applications, and understanding of their structural transformations provides key scientific insights for those systems with similar covalently bonded networks. Pulsed laser-induced crystallization is a common method to evolve the nanostructure in a-Ge, as it can produce a large variety of microstructural features, including a range of grain sizes and textures.5–7 It is also a highly localized process, ideal for the semiconductor industry where operations on a patterned substrate are common and the surrounding materials may react to heating differently. Laser processing with its short duration has the additional advantage of putting the material in a far-from-equilibrium state, creating phases not accessible via other methods.4,7–9 It has been shown that the crystallization behavior of amorphous semiconductors can vary significantly based on their preparation methods3,10 and thermal treatment history.11 In particular, the differences have been linked to the changes in the medium range order (MRO) of the materials. The MRO extends beyond the nearest neighbor atom and has a typical length scale of 1–3nm. The MRO has been shown to be present in many amorphous materials including a-Ge,3,10–14 and can be altered by post-processing such as thermal annealing,3,11,14 ion and electr

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J. Y. Cheng, J. M. Gibson, and D. C. Jacobson, J. Mater. Res. 16(11), 3030–3033 (2001). 15 F. Spaepen and D. Turnbull, AIP Conf. Proc. 50(1), 73–83 (1979). 16 B. G. Bagley and H. S. Chen, paper presented at the Materials Research Society, Boston (1979). 17 A. P. Chojnacka, Ph.D. thesis, Cornel University, 2002. 18 C. Grigoropoulos, M. Rogers, S. H. Ko, A. A. Golovin, and B. J. Matkowsky, Phys. Rev. B 73(18), 184125 (2006). 19 G. H. Campbell, J. T. McKeown, and M. K. Santala, Appl. Phys. Rev. 1(4), 041101 (2014). 20 T. LaGrange, B. W. Reed, M. K. Santala, J. T. McKeown, A. Kulovits, J. M. K. Wiezorek, L. Nikolova, F. Rosei, B. J. Siwick, and G. H. Campbell, Micron 43(11), 1108–1120 (2012). 21 J. F. Ziegler, M. D. Ziegler, and J. P. Biersack, Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. Sect. B 268(11–12), 1818–1823 (2010). 22 M. M. J. Treacy, J. M. Gibson, L. Fan, D. J. Paterson, and I. McNulty, Rep. Prog. Phys. 68(12), 2899 (2005). 23 T. T. Li, S. N. Bogle, and J. R. Abelson, Microsc. Microanal. 20(5), 1605–1618 (2014).

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