Ultra-low concentration phase separation in solids: Ag in (Cd, Hg)Te
Department of Materials and Interfaces, Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot,
Accepted: 12 November 1998
We show how phase separation, in the form of a redistribution of impurities (dopants in a semiconductor), can occur at impurity concentrations that are more than one order of magnitude lower than hitherto observed. This phenomenon results from the balance between long-range electrostatic repulsion and the elastic attraction of the dopants, which deforms the anisotropic host lattice.We observed such a phase separation for Ag in (Cd, Hg)Te at Ag concentrations < 0.02 at. %. This also leads to the formation of a thermodynamically (as opposed to kinetically) stable p-n junction in the 2-phase region. Searching for phase separation at such low concentrations requires highly sensitive analyses, here made possible because of the difference in conductivity type between the phases.
PACS: 64.75.+g – Solubility, segregation, and mixing; phase separation / 61.72.Vv – Doping and impurity implantation in III-V and II-VI semiconductors / 66.30.-h – Diffusion in solids
© EDP Sciences, 1999