Titanium silicide islands have been formed by the ultrahigh vacuum deposition of thin films of titanium (<2 nm) on atomically clean Si(100) substrates followed by annealing to ∼800 °C. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and scanning tunneling spectroscopy have been performed on these islands to record current-voltage (I-V) curves. Because each island forms a double barrier tunnel junction (DBTJ) structure with the STM tip and the substrate, they would be expected to exhibit single electron tunneling (SET) according to the orthodox model of SET. Some of the islands formed are small enough (diameter <10 nm) to exhibit SET at room temperature and evidence of SET has been identified in some of the I-V curves recorded from these small islands. Those curves are analyzed within the framework of the orthodox model and are found to be consistent with that model, except for slight discrepancies of the shape of the I-V curves at current steps. However, most islands that were expected to exhibit SET did not do so, and the reasons for the absence of observable SET are evaluated. The most likely reasons for the absence of SET are determined to be a wide depletion region in the substrate and Schottky barrier lowering due to Fermi level pinning by surface states of the clean silicon near the islands. The results establish that although the Schottky barrier can act as an effective tunnel junction in a DBTJ structure, the islands may be unreliable in future nanoelectronic devices. Therefore, methods are discussed to improve the reliability of future devices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)