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Epitaxy is a Greek word, which means,

Epi = upon
Taxi = arranged or ordered

It can be translated as "arranging upon".

Epitaxy refers to the deposition of a crystalline overlayer on a crystalline substrate.

The overlayer is called an epitaxial film or epitaxial layer.

For most technological applications, it is desired that the deposited material form a
crystalline overlayer that has one well-defined orientation with respect to the substrate
crystal structure (single-domain epitaxy).

This leads to the meaning that it is an arrangement of atoms (arranging themselves in a

crystal form) upon a crystal substrate.

Epitaxy is a process used to grow a thin crystalline layer on a crystalline

substrate, while having the resulting added layer structure is an exact extension of the
substrate crystal structure.

Most Epitaxial processes use chemical vapor deposition (CVD) techniques.

Epitaxial films may be grown from gaseous or liquid precursors.

Because the substrate acts as a seed crystal, the deposited film may lock into one or more
crystallographic orientations with respect to the substrate crystal.

If the overlayer either forms a random orientation with respect to the substrate or does not
form an ordered overlayer, it is termed non-epitaxial growth.

If an epitaxial film is deposited on a substrate of the same composition, the process is

called homoepitaxy; otherwise it is called heteroepitaxy.

When a material is grown epitaxially on a substrate of the same material, such as silicon
grows on silicon, the process is termed Homoepitaxy (or auto Epitaxy).

If the layer and substrate are of different materials such as Aluminum Gallium Arsenide on
GaAs, the process is termed Heteroepitaxy.

Why we do epitaxy ??

Epitaxial structures are used to improve the performance of dynamic RAMs and CMOS ICs.
Epitaxy was developed to enhance the performance of discrete bipolar transistors.

Epitaxial layers are generally oxygen and carbon free. Epitaxial layer in silicon microelectronics
are typically about 0.5-5 micrometer thick or 3% of the wafer thickness. Epitaxial process limits
power dissipation.
Epitaxy Vs Crystal Growing
It seems that there is no difference between Epitaxy & crystal growing technique. But there are
some differences, which are as follows.
1. In Epitaxy, a thin film of single crystal silicon is grown from a Vapour phase upon a existing
single crystal of the same material.
Whereas, in crystal growing a single crystal is grown from the liquid phase, in contrast to the
growth technique in epitaxy.
2. Epitaxy involves no portion of the system at a temperature any where near the melting point of
the material.

Whereas, in crystal growing technique. material is first melted & then recasted (INGOT).


Homoepitaxy is a kind of epitaxy performed with only one material, in which a crystalline film is grown
on a substrate or film of the same material. This technology is used to grow a film which is more pure
than the substrate and to fabricate layers having different doping levels. In academic literature,
homoepitaxy is often abbreviated to "homoepi".

Heteroepitaxy is a kind of epitaxy performed with materials that are different from each other. In
heteroepitaxy, a crystalline film grows on a crystalline substrate or film of a different material. This
technology is often used to grow crystalline films of materials for which crystals cannot otherwise be
obtained and to fabricate integrated crystalline layers of different materials. Examples include gallium
nitride (GaN) on sapphire, aluminium gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) on gallium arsenide (GaAs)
or diamond or iridium.[1]

Heterotopotaxy is a process similar to heteroepitaxy except that thin film growth is not limited to two-
dimensional growth; the substrate is similar only in structure to the thin-film material.

Pendeo-epitaxy is a process in which the heteroepitaxial film is growing vertically and laterally at the
same time.

Epitaxy is used in silicon-based manufacturing processes for bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and
modern complementary metaloxidesemiconductors (CMOS), but it is particularly important for
compound semiconductors such as gallium arsenide.

Manufacturing issues include control of the amount and uniformity of the deposition's resistivity
and thickness, the cleanliness and purity of the surface and the chamber atmosphere, the prevention of the
typically much more highly doped substrate wafer's diffusion of dopant to the new layers, imperfections
of the growth process, and protecting the surfaces during the manufacture and handling.

Epitaxy is used in nanotechnology and in semiconductor fabrication.

Indeed, epitaxy is the only affordable method of high quality crystal growth for many semiconductor

In surface science, epitaxy is used to create and study monolayer and multilayer films of adsorbed
organic molecules on single crystalline surfaces.

Adsorbed molecules form ordered structures on atomically flat terraces of single crystalline surfaces and
can directly be observed via scanning tunnelling microscopy.

In contrast, surface defects and their geometry have significant influence on the adsorption of organic

Epitaxlal Growth of Silicon

Four silicon sources have been used for growing Epitaxial silicon. Thcse are SiCl 4 (Silicon Tetra
Chloride), SiH2Cl2 (Dichiorosilane), SiHCl3(Trichlorosilane) & SiH4, (Silane)

Silicon tetrachioride has seen the most and widest industrial use,

The overall reaction is:

In the above reaction. many of the species are ignored because their partial pressures are less than 10-6

6.1.3 Apparatus for Epitaxy (Epitaxial Reaction)

The Epitaxial layer deposition takes place in a chamber called an Epitaxial reactor. Typical
reactors weigh 2x103 kg & occupy 2 m2 or ever more floor area.

Susceptors in Epitaxial reactors are analogous to crucibles in the crystal growing process. They
provide mechanical support for the wafers and are the sources of thermal energy for the reaction
in induction-heated reactors. The susceptor must be mechanically strong and non-contaminating
to the process.

Induction heated reactors require graphite but graphite requires a coating because they are impure
& soft.

The reaction tube is cooled by forced air-cooling mechanism & induction coils and other metal
parts are water-cooled.

Energy for the reaction has been supplied by heating the susceptor inductively. The energy is then
transported to the wafers by conduction & radiation.

In modern equipments, the process cycle is generaliy microprocessor controlled and the operator
has only to bring wafers to the reactor and take the finished wafer away.


Epitaxial silicon is usually grown using vapor-phase epitaxy (VPE), a modification of chemical vapor
deposition(CVD). Molecular-beam and liquid-phase epitaxy (MBE and LPE) are also used, mainly for
compound semiconductors. Solid-phase epitaxy is used primarily for crystal-damage healing.

Vapor-phase Epitaxy (CVD)

Silicon is most commonly deposited by doping with silicon tetrachloride and hydrogen at approximately
1200 C:

SiCl4(g) + 2H2(g) Si(s) + 4HCl(g)

This reaction is reversible, and the growth rate depends strongly upon the proportion of the two source
gases. Growth rates above 2 micrometres per minute produce polycrystalline silicon, and negative growth
rates (etching) may occur if too much hydrogen chloride byproduct is present. (In fact, hydrogen chloride
may be added intentionally to etch the wafer.) An additional etching reaction competes with the
deposition reaction:

SiCl4(g) + Si(s) 2SiCl2(g)

Silicon VPE may also use silane, dichlorosilane, and trichlorosilane source gases. For instance, the silane
reaction occurs at 650 C in this way:

SiH4 Si + 2H2

This reaction does not inadvertently etch the wafer, and takes place at lower temperatures than deposition
from silicon tetrachloride. However, it will form a polycrystalline film unless tightly controlled, and it
allows oxidizing species that leak into the reactor to contaminate the epitaxial layer with unwanted
compounds such as silicon dioxide.
VPE is sometimes classified by the chemistry of the source gases, such as hydride VPE and metalorganic

CVD Reactor :

The CVD of single crystal silicon is usually performed in a reactor consisting of a quartz
reaction chamber into which a susceptor is placed. The susceptor provides physical
support for the substrate wafers and provides a more uniform thermal environment.

Deposition occurs at a high temperature at which several chemical reactions take place
when process gases flow into the chamber.

There are three basic types of reactors:

1. Horizontal
2. Vertical and
3. Cylindrical or Barrel type.
Liquid phase epitaxy (LPE) is a method to grow semiconductor crystal layers from the melt on solid
substrates. This happens at temperatures well below the melting point of the deposited semiconductor.
The semiconductor is dissolved in the melt of another material. At conditions that are close to the
equilibrium between dissolution and deposition, the deposition of the semiconductor crystal on the
substrate is relatively fast and uniform. The most used substrate is indium phosphide (InP). Other
substrates like glass or ceramic can be applied for special applications. To facilitate nucleation, and to
avoid tension in the grown layer the thermal expansion coefficient of substrate and grown layer should be

Solid Phase Epitaxy (SPE) is a transition between the amorphous and crystalline phases of a material. It
is usually done by first depositing a film of amorphous material on a crystalline substrate. The substrate is
then heated to crystallize the film. The single crystal substrate serves as a template for crystal growth.
The annealing step used to recrystallize or heal silicon layers amorphized during ion implantation is also
considered one type of Solid Phase Epitaxy. The Impurity segregation and redistribution at the growing
crystal-amorphous layer interface during this process is used to incorporate low-solubility dopants in
metals and Silicon.[4]

Molecular-beam epitaxy

Main article: Molecular-beam epitaxy

In molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), a source material is heated to produce an evaporated beam of
particles. These particles travel through a very high vacuum (108 Pa; practically free space) to the
substrate, where they condense. MBE has lower throughput than other forms of epitaxy. This technique is
widely used for growing periodic groups III, IV, and V semiconductor crystals.[5][6]