The structure and property characteristics of amorphous/nanocrystalline silicon produced by ball milling

T. D. Shen, C. C. Koch, T. L. McCormick, R. J. Nemanich, J. Y. Huang, J. G. Huang

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224 Scopus citations


The structural transformation of polycrystalline Si induced by high energy ball milling has been studied. The structure and property characteristics of the milled powder have been investigated by x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, high-resolution electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, Raman scattering, and infrared absorption spectroscopy. Two phase amorphous and nanocrystalline Si has been produced by ball milling of polycrystalline elemental Si. The nanocrystalline components contain some defects such as dislocations, twins, and stacking faults which are typical of defects existing in conventional coarse-grained polycrystalline materials. The volume fraction of amorphous Si is about 15% while the average size of nanocrystalline grains is about 8 nm. Amorphous elemental Si without combined oxygen can be obtained by ball milling. The distribution of amorphous Si and the size of nanocrystalline Si crystallites is not homogeneous in the milled powder. The amorphous Si formed is concentrated near the surface of milled particles while the grain size of nanocrystalline Si ranges from 3 to 20 nm. Structurally, the amorphous silicon component prepared by ball milling is similar to that obtained by ion implantation or chemical vapor deposition. The amorphous Si formed exhibits a crystallization temperature of about 660 °C at a heating rate of 40 K/min and crystallization activation energy of about 268 kJ/mol. Two possible amorphization mechanisms, i.e., pressure-induced amorphization and crystallite-refinement-induced amorphization, are proposed for the amorphization of Si induced by ball milling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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