Nov 25, 2015

Single-crystal germanium layers grown on silicon by nanowire seeding

Three-dimensional integration and the combination of different material systems are central themes of electronics research. Recently, as-grown vertical one-dimensional structures have been integrated into high-density three-dimensional circuits. However, little attention has been paid to the unique structural properties of germanium nanowires obtained by epitaxial and heteroepitaxial growth on Ge(111) and Si(111) substrates, despite the fact that the integration of germanium on silicon is attractive for device applications. Here, we demonstrate the lateral growth of single crystal germanium islands tens of micrometres in diameter by seeding from germanium nanowires grown on a silicon substrate. Vertically aligned high-aspect-ratio nanowires can transfer the orientation and perfection of the substrate crystal to overlying layers a micrometre or more above the substrate surface. This technique can be repeated to build multiple active device layers, a key requirement for the fabrication of densely interconnected three-dimensional integrated circuits.

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