High-quality crystalline Si1-xGex (x=0.10 and 0.25) alloys were implanted with 70 keV Er+ ions at temperatures of 350°C and 550°C to a fluence of 1015 cm−2. In-situ Rutherford backscattering/channeling (RBS) analysis supplemented with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that as-implanted alloys were in form of ternary solid solutions with a peak Er concentration of 1 at.% without any trace of Er-Si or Er-Ge precipitation.
In the samples implanted at 350°C Er atoms were found to be distributed randomly in the amorphous host matrix. Post-implantation annealing at different temperatures up to 600° showed that the solid phase epitaxial regrowth of the damaged layers strongly depends on both the Ge concentration in the alloys and the temperature of annealing. Along with the recrystallization of the damaged matrix, annealing was observed to induce simultaneous removal of nearly all the implanted Er as the recrystallization front progresses towards the surface.
In contrast, high temperature implantation at 550°C led to spontaneous recovery of the alloy crystallinity and incorporation of considerable fraction of implanted Er atoms on regular tetrahedral interstitial sites in the host lattice.