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Effect of the Pretreatment Step Condition in the Growth Process of the Si Melt Method on the Size of β–Si3N4 Single Crystals
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 January 2011
Two kinds of obviously different-sized –Si3N4 whiskers were grown from silicon melt with different pretreatment vacuum conditions. Their growth interface structures were studied in a cross-section view from micro-areas to macro-areas by combination of micro-area state analysis with chemical shift mapping of Si Kβ bands using electron probe microanalysis. The one pretreated under the lower vacuum condition with a rotary pump was 10–20 μm in diameter and hundreds of micrometers in length, and another pretreated under the higher vacuum condition with a diffusion pump was 0.1–0.2 mm in diameter and 2–5 mm in length. The small Si3N4 whiskers were grown from the surface of the SiC particles within the Si melt. The large Si3N4 whiskers were grown from the surface of Si3N4 crucible. On the basis of these results, their growth mechanisms are discussed from the view of the nucleation sites, impurity source, and thermodynamic stability of the SiC particles. Compared with the Si3N4 grains, the SiC particles influenced the nucleation deeply and caused the process to grow small-sized crystals. Preventing the carbon impurities into the Si melt from forming the SiC particles in the pretreatment process was one effective way to grow the large-sized β–Si3N4 single crystals.
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