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Structural relaxation and self-diffusion in covalent amorphous solids: Silicon nitride as a model system

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7 Author(s)
Schmidt, H. ; Institute of Metallurgy, Materials Physics Group, Clausthal University of Technology, Robert-Koch-Strasse 42, D-38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany ; Gruber, W. ; Gutberlet, T. ; Ay, M.
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Neutron reflectometry and isotope multilayers were used to investigate self-diffusion in covalent amorphous solids during isothermal annealing and its correlation to structural relaxation. Amorphous silicon nitride was chosen as a model system. Neutron reflectometry is a superior method to measure very low self-diffusivities, occurring in covalent solids, by applying only short time anneals. This allows one to determine time dependent changes of diffusivity over a broad temperature range before crystallization of the metastable solid occurs. The measured nitrogen diffusivities decrease by more than one order of magnitude during annealing between 950 and 1150 °C, while at the same time also a decrease of the atomic density is observed. We interpret this behavior as a structural relaxation of the amorphous network structure that is governed by annihilation of interstitial-like defects.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:102 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Aug 2007

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