Bulk diffusion couples of Co/Si were annealed at 800, 900, 1000, 1050 and 1100°C for periods ranging from 24 hours to one month. Growth rates of the intermediate phases, Co2Si, CoSi and CoSi2, as well as the composition profiles across the couples were determined by optical microscopy and electron probe microanalysis (EPMA). Using the solution to the multiphase binary diffusion equations and the experimental data, the interdiffusion coefficients for Co2Si, CoSi and CoSi2 are obtained as a function of temperature. The activation energies obtained are 140, 160 and 190 KJ/mole for Co2Si, CoSi and CoSi2, respectively. The generally small interdiffusion coefficient of CoSi2 and its high activation energy cause the growth rate of CoSi2 to be extremely small at low temperatures.
The interdiffusion coefficients for Co2Si, CoSi and CoSi2 at 545°C are obtained by extrapolation of the high-temperatures data. Using these data and solving numerically the diffusion equations with the appropriate boundary conditions, the growth of Co2Si, CoSi and CoSi2 is calculated as a function of time. The calculated results are in good agreement with the experimental data reported in the literature. This study demonstrates clearly that the initial absence of the CoSi2 phase is due to diffusion-controlled rather than nucleation-controlled kinetics. This phenomenon may be quite common in many thin-fiflm metal/Si couples.