We report a new method for synthesizing Ge nano-crystallites embedded in SiNy film matrices. On the basis of the effect of the reactant precursors and preferential chemical bonding of Si-N and Ge-Ge, thin films with Ge clusters embedded in SiNy matrices have been prepared in the PECVD system with reactant gases of SiH4, GeH4 and NH3 mixed in the hydrogen plasma. The as-deposited films were then crystallized by Ar ion laser annealing or thermal annealing technique to form nanometer-sized Ge crystallites.
The composition and microstructures of these new type of sample were characterized by infrared absorption spectra, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and Raman scattering spectra. The results indicated that the average size of Ge crystallites was estimated to be 2-20 nm depending on the deposition and annealing parameters and can be controlled by a designed manner.