Crystals of silicon carbide, and other polytypic materials often have micropipes associated with screw dislocations of large Burgers vectors running along their axial dimensions. These defects are considered the most deleterious to the performance of SiC semiconductor devices.
Optical micrographs of micropipes in silicon carbide crystals are ordinarily faint. To obtain micrographs showing higher contrast and detail, laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) and simple fluorescence microscopy were used on 6H-SiC single crystals after infiltrating them with a low-viscosity epoxy containing a fluorescent dye. “Staining” the micropipes rendered them much more visible both in fluorescence and conventional optical microscopies. Details of their structures and shapes were revealed, and their dimensions were measured accurately, using LSCM and other, less sophisticated, fluorescence microscopies. Other voids present, such as microcracks, were also visualized. Observations by this optical technique were related to information obtained by synchrotron white beam x-ray topography.