Thermal transport across metal silicide-silicon interfaces: An experimental comparison between epitaxial and nonepitaxial interfaces

Silicides are used extensively in nano- and microdevices due to their low electrical resistivity, low contact resistance to silicon, and their process compatibility. In this work, the thermal interface conductance of TiSi2, CoSi2, NiSi, and PtSi are studied using time-domain thermoreflectance. Exploiting the fact that most silicides formed on Si(111) substrates grow epitaxially, while most silicides on Si(100) do not, we study the effect of epitaxy, and show that for a wide variety of interfaces there is no dependence of interface conductance on the detailed structure of the interface. In particular, there is no difference in the thermal interface conductance between epitaxial and nonepitaxial silicide/silicon interfaces, nor between epitaxial interfaces with different interface orientations.While these silicide-based interfaces yield the highest reported interface conductances of any known interface with silicon, none of the interfaces studied are found to operate close to the phonon radiation limit, indicating that phonon transmission coefficients are nonunity in all cases and yet remain insensitive to interfacial structure. In the case of CoSi2, a comparison ismade with detailed computational models using (1) full-dispersion diffuse mismatch modeling (DMM) including the effect of near-interfacial strain, and (2) an atomistic Green’ function (AGF) approach that integrates near-interface changes in the interatomic force constants obtained through density functional perturbation theory. Above 100 K, the AGF approach significantly underpredicts interface conductance suggesting that energy transport does not occur purely by coherent transmission of phonons, even for epitaxial interfaces. The full-dispersion DMM closely predicts the experimentally observed interface conductances for CoSi2, NiSi, and TiSi2 interfaces, while it remains an open question whether inelastic scattering, cross-interfacial electron-phonon coupling, or other mechanisms could also account for the high-temperature behavior. The effect of degenerate semiconductor dopant concentration onmetal-semiconductor thermal interface conductance was also investigated with the result that we have found no dependencies of the thermal interface conductances up to (n or p type) ≈1 × 1019 cm−3, indicating that there is no significant direct electronic transport and no transport effects that depend on long-range metal-semiconductor band alignment.
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Ning Ye, Joseph P. Feser, Sridhar Sadasivam, Timothy S. Fisher, Tianshi Wang, Charoying Ni, and Anderson Janotti. (2017) Thermal transport across metal silicide-silicon interfaces: An experimental comparison between epitaxial and nonepitaxial interfaces. Physical Review B 95, 0085430. DOI 10.1103/PhysRevB.95.085430