(19)
(11)EP 0 003 425 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
08.08.1979 Bulletin 1979/16

(21)Application number: 79300118.1

(22)Date of filing:  24.01.1979
(51)Int. Cl.2C30B 25/06, C03B 25/10, C30B 25/16, C30B 25/18, C22F 3/02, H01L 31/02, H01L 21/203
(84)Designated Contracting States:
BE CH DE FR GB IT NL SE

(30)Priority: 26.01.1978 US 872625

(71)Applicant: SOTEC CORPORATION
Menlo Park California 94025 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Reitz, Norman Ernest
    Redwood City California 94601 (US)

(74)Representative: Skailes, Humphrey John et al
Frank B. Dehn & Co., European Patent Attorneys, 179 Queen Victoria Street
London EC4V 4EL
London EC4V 4EL (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
  
      


    (54)A method for forming a crystalline film of a paramagnetic sodium thallium type intermetallic compound and apparatus for performing said method


    (57) An intermetallic compound having a dual diamond crystal structure (e.g. LiAl, LiCd or LiZn) is formed on a substrate surface. A layer containing the constituent elements is first formed on the substrate, and is then heated in a magnetic field set at a selected angle (e.g. 0c or 90c) to the layer. A crystalline film of the compound is formed with a major crystallographic plane aligned with the magnetic field. The substrate may be a sheet of one of the constituent metals (e.g. Al, Cd or Zn), and the layer formed by impinging ions of the other metal (e.g. Li) onto the substrate surface.
    The crystalline film produced can be used as a substrate for the growth of crystalline silicon.
    Apparatus for performing the method includes means (105, 106) for positioning and heating (110) the substrate (104) within the magnetic field established by the magnet (101,102). Means (107) can also be provided for firing ions of one of the metals (e.g. Li, 108) onto the substrate (104). Similar means (113) can be provided to fire silicon (112) ions onto the crystalline film after its formation. The apparatus may be contained in a vacuum chamber.




    Description


    [0001] This invention concerns a method and apparatus for forming a crystalline film of a paramagnetic sodium thallium type intermetallic compound, e.g. a compound of lithium and either aluminium, zinc or cadmium.

    [0002] Crystalline films may generally be formed of these elements and compounds which form bulk crystals. The formation of crystalline films on crystalline substrates of the same material is denoted homoepitaxy. The formation of crystalline films on crystalline substrates of a different material is denoted heteroepitaxy. Under special conditions, crystalline films may be formed on amorphous substrates. The formation of crystalline films is a special discipline apart from bulk crystal formation since circumstances and conditions such as substrate composition, substrate crystallinity and orientation, the respective coefficients of thermal expansion; the adhesion of the film to the substrate or the chemical reaction of the film with the substrate, and the geomotry of the film, affect film growth and crystal film characteristics. Such crystalline films have utility for electronics applications since they may be outstanding conductors, semiconductors or insulators and can have precisely tailored electrical properties. In addition, they are known to have particularly useful thermal, magnetic and optical as well as chemical properties.

    [0003] Numerous techniques are available for forming films from the vapour on a solid substrate. These techniques are used most widely than the techniques cf liquid phase epitaxy or solid phase epitaxy. Rheotaxy, the formation of a film on a liquid substrate, is not widely used. The techniques for forming films from the vapour state include chemical vapour deposition, vacuum evaporation and its progeny molecular beam epitaxy, and the various types of sputtering such as ion beam, plasma and magnetron sputtering. Refinements in these techniques have increasingly permitted film thickness, deposition rates and film quality to be controlled. Yet, even with refined film formation techniques there is an inherent progression in the difficulty of film formation from production of an amorphous or microcrystalline material to production of a nonaligned polycrystalline material to production of a crystalline film which is a plurality of aligned crystals or a single crystal. And, the formation of crystalline films which are formed of a plurality of aligned crystals, or better yet, of a single crystal of a particular orientation, has only been possible by the use of carefully prepared substrates of the sane or a similar material which have an appropriate crystalline lattice exposed on their surfaces (see I.H. Kahn, "The growth and Structure of Single-crystal Films" in Handbook of Thin Film Technology, pp 10-1 et. seq).

    [0004] The intermetallic compounds of the sodium thallium type are disclosed in U.S. Patent 4,042,447, aid in copending application Serial No. 789,566, as serving as a substrate for the oriented crystalline overgrowth of silicon. The sodium thallium type intermetallic compounds have a dual diamond crystalline lattice in which the constituent atoms of one element form a diamond lattice which is interpenetrated by a slightly displaced but congruent diamond lattice formed by the constituent atoms of the other element. When crystalline silicon is nucleated and grown on a sodium thallium type substrate the recovered product is suitable as a precursor for photovoltaic devices. The nucleation and growth of silicon can be accomplished on a crystalline specimen which is grown from the bulk. However, for a practicable process it is desirable to nucleate and grow crystalline silicon on large surface areas to produce large area photovoltaic devices. The formation of crystalline films of sodium thallium type intermetallic compounds and especially of crystalline films with specific orientation is, therefore, a desirable goal.

    [0005] The invention thus provides a method for forming a crystalline film of a paramagnetic sodium thallium type intermetallic compound having a dual diamond crystal structure, comprising the steps of producing a layer on one surface of a substrate, said layer containing the constituent elements of said compound in substantially stoichiometric proportions to permit formation of said compound with the dual diamond sodium thallium type crystal structure in at least a portion of said layer; applying a magnetic field to said layer, said magnetic field having a selected orientation with respect to the orientation of said layer and having a strength sufficient to induce crystallization of a major crystallographic plane in aligned relation thereto; and heating said layer in the presence of said field at a sufficient temperature to permit crystallization to occur with a major crystallographic plane of said compound in aligned relation to the orientation of said magnetic field.

    [0006] Our method enables the production of crystalline films(particularly of LiAl, LiCd or LiZn) having a very specific orientation. These films are very suitable for use as substrates for the growth of crystalline silicon.

    [0007] In particular a method is provided for forming a crystalline dual diamond sodium thallium type intermetallic compound upon a substrate surface, the method comprising positioning a substrate having upon a surface thereof a region which consists essentially of metallic lithium and a single species selected from aluminium, zinc and cadmium in a substantially stoichiometric amount to form either LiAl, LiZn or LiCd upon said surface, in a magnetic field at a selected angle to said surface, and heating the positioned layer for a sufficient time and at a sufficient temperature to form said intermetallic compound with a major crystallographic plane thereof aligned generally parallel to said field,

    [0008] The invention also includes apparatus for carrying out the method of the invention, the apparatus comprising means for positioning the substrate at a selected angle to a magnetic field, means for establishing the magnetic field, and means for heating said layer on the surface of the substrate in the magnetic field.

    [0009] The invention is further described below in relation to its theoretical background and with reference to the drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 illustrates schematically a principal major (111) plane of a double diamond sodium thallium type lithium aluminium crystal;

    Figure la illustrates in enlarged view a portion of the crystal of Figure 1;

    Figure 1b illustrates schematically a tetrahedron of aluminium atoms;

    Figure 2 illustrates schematically a major (110) plane of a double diamond sodium thallium type lithium aluminium crystal;

    Figure 3 illustates schematically a major (100) plane of a double diamond sodium thallium type lithium aluminium crystal;

    Figure 4 illustrates an elevation view of the crystal of Figure 1;

    Figures 5, 6 and 7 illustrate respectively the phase diagrams of lithium and aluminium, lithium and zinc, and lithium and cadmium;

    Figure 8 illustrates schematically a first embodiment of apparatus in accordance with the present invention; and

    Figure 9 illustrates schematically an alternate apparatus to that of Figure 8.



    [0010] The method of the present invention is based upon the practical utilization of the relationship between the paramagnetic properties of certain intermetallic compounds of the sodium thallium type and their crystal structure. In particular, the paramagnetism of these compounds is utilized by applying a strong magnetic field during the process of crystallization or recrystallization to assist crystallization of a film with a principal crystallographic plane in aligned relation to the applied field. The ensuing description of the preferred embodiments necessarily describes the nature of this paramagnetism, the crystal structure of the sodium thallium type intermetallic compounds and the way in which the application of a strong magnetic field can be used to assist the crystallization a film with such an orientation.

    [0011] The three principal magnetic phenomena in matter are paramagnetism, dismagnetism and ferromagnetism. See, generally, D.E.G. Williams, The Magnetic Properties of Matter (1966). The first two properties are possessed by individual atoms, ions, or molecules, and relate to magnetic moments which may be inherent or induced. The strength of these properties is determined by the resultant magnetic moment measured in an applied field; this resultant moment necessarily constitutes the sum of the inherent moment and any induced moment. If this resultant magnetic moment in an applied field is greater than without the applied field, the resultant moment is positive, and the substance is paramagnetic; if the resultant moment is less than in the absence of an applied field, the resultant moment is negative and the substance is diamagnetic. The strength of these properties in elements and inorganic compounds as reflected by the susceptibility varies generally from the order of 1 to 10,000 x 10-6 cgs units for paramagnetic substances (a few rare earth elements have even stronger paramagnetism) and from the order of -100 x 10-6 to the order of -1 x 10-6 cgs units for diamagnetic substances. On the other hand, the property of ferromagnetism is based on cooperative phenomena involving groups of atoms. The strength of the ferromagnetic property is many orders of magnitude greater than that of paramagnetism and diamagnetism. Further, not only is the magnetic susceptibility much greater but ferromagnetic substances possess the property that a significant remnant magnetization can be produced by the application of a low strength magnetic field whereas, e.g., in paramagnetic substances even when high magnetic fields are applied at most a negligible remnant magnetization is produced. It is the property of remnant magnetization which accounts for the widespread exploitation of the property of ferromagnetism in practical production processes (see, e.g. U.S. Patents 4,003,768 issued to R.L. Anderson et al and 2, 965, 525 issued to R.D. Burbank et al). The absence of any significant remnant magnetization in paramagnetic materials similarly accounts for the absence of exploitation of the properties of paramagnetism.

    [0012] It has been recognized that the processes that underlie crystallization have a magnetic character. At the inter-atomic level when crystallization occurs the magnetic field strengths are on the order of 107 to 108 oersted. For this reason it has long been the conventional wisdom that external magnetic fields, at the practical levels of the order of 102 10 105 oersted, could not be used to influence the actual process of crystallization. It has been thought that only the high susceptibilities of ferromagnetic materials have practical applications (see Peter Wilkes, Solid St2te Theory in Metallurgy, p 100 (1973)). Thus, so-called magnetic annealing of ferromagnetic substances normally involves only the alignment of ferromagnetic moments and not the processes of crystallization or recrystallization. At most, in certain applications fully formed crystallites of ferromagnetic materials are aligned to form a cohesive solid; these crytallites were formed at the atomic level without the assistance or inducement of an external magnetic field and were ordered at a macrcscopic level by magnetic annenling bslow the Curie temperstur to form, e.g., a pemanent msgnet (sel U.S. Patsnt 2,569,458, issued to E.A. Gangler). When crystallcgraphic texture has been produced in ferromagnetic materials the texture has resulted from aroup intersetiens, the basis of ferromagnetism, and not from atomic alianment (see C.D. Graham, Jr., "Textured Magnetic Materials" in

    importance, then, has resulted from a foaus on ferromagnetic materials, commonly called "magnetic meterials", and a

    of the magnetic properties of paramagnetic materials. commonlv called "nonmagnetic materials". The mathod of the present invention is predicated upon the use of the paramagnetic properties of intermetallic compounds of the sodium thallium type to assist at the atomic level in the oriented crystallization of a film of the compound.

    [0013] By reference to Table 1 the approximste molar mag- netic susceptibility of the NaT1-type intermetallic compounds can be seen.

    (This table is taken from Y.L. Yao; Trans. AIME, V.230, P. 1725 (1964) and von W. Klemm et al., Z. Anorg, Allegm. Chem., V. 282, p. 161 et seg. (1955)). The compounds LiZn, LiCd and LiAl are paramagnetic while the compounds NaT1, LiLn and LiGa are diamagnetic. In many paramagnetic substances the property has been found to be inversely dependent on temperature. However, the paramagnetism of LiZn, LiCd and LiAl has been found to be almost independent of temperature (von W. Klemm. "Uber das magnetische Verhalten der intermetallischen Phasen Vom NaT1-Typ", Z. Anorg. Allgem. Chem., V. 282, p. 162 et seq. (1955)). The resultant magnetic moment of these compounds in an applied magnetic field is greater than the moment without the applied field. On an atomic level this means that certain electrons experience changes in their orbital motion in the presence of the applied field and these changed orbits in turn produce an associated magnetic moment which seeks alignment with the field. At a submicroscopic level nuclei of two or morc atoms will seek allignment with the applied field in such an orientation that these induced magnetic moments will be in line with the applied field. These induced moments exist in an environment of thermal kinetic forces and interatomie magnetic forces, and, subject to their interaction with these environmental forces, will naturally seek alligmment with the external field. It is this tendency to

    of the paramagnetic moments at the atomic and submicrs- scopic level in the three paremagnetic thallium type inter. metallic compounds which is relied upon by the method of the present invention. The three diamagnetic intermetallic compounds; NaT1, LiIn and LiGa, do not tend to align with the external field: instead, the forces related to the resultant moments tend to rotate the atoms and submicrc- scopic nuclei away from alignment with this field. This introduces unstabilizins rototional mouion inimieal to crystallization. With certain simple crystal structures with pronounced orthogonal diamagnetic anisotropy, such as graphite, magnetic field enhancement of crystallisation may occur. With the diamagnetic sodium thallium dual diamond crystal structure, however, the symmetry of the principal crystallographic planes is such that rotation continually turns other principal crystallographic axes into the direction of the applied field thus producing further rotational forces which result in a tumbling effect. The reliance of the method of the present invention on the paramagnetic compounds and the exclusion of the diamagnetic compounds is collaterally supported by the observed crystallization of paramagnetic and diamagnetic substances from solutions in the presence of a magnetic field (G.E. Smerkovitch-Galevy, "Effect of Magnetic Field on Crystallization", Zhurnal Vsesoyuznogo Khimicheskogo Cbshchestva Imeni Di Mendeleeva, v. 22, p. 102 et seq. (1977)).

    [0014] The crystalline and particularly the single crystal state is the energetically preferred state; however, conditions must be carefully controlled for this state to be obtained. The presence of impurities, inappropriate cooling rates and pressure levels, non-optimum geometries and other factors will introduce forces which work against the formation of aligned crystals and particularly of single crystals. If these forces are eliminated or damped, the aligned crystalline state can be preferably obtained over, e.g., the non-aligned macrocrystalline state or the microcrystalline or amorphous state. A key to the establishment of the aligned crystalline state is the alignment at the atomic and submicroscopic level of the constituent atoms or nuclei in an arrangement which permits the interatomic magnetic forces to take over and coalesce the constituent atoms and nuclei into a crystal. As the principal crystallographic axis of a fully formed paramagnetic crystal lines up with an applied magnetic field because of the concentration of magentic moments in the plane of the principal crystallographic axis, the application of an external field during crystallization aligns paramagnetic moments of atoms and the paramagnetic based moments of submicroscopic nuclei so that one of the major and generally the principal crystallographic plane coalesces in alignment with the field. If there are symmetrical counterparts of the principal crystalbgraphic plane this coalescence will be more likely to occur if the plane being formed in alignment with the field is in some manner distinguishable from its symmetrical counterparts. i.e. if it is anisotropic, and if alignment at the atomic level lies in this particular plane. It should be noted that in the sense of this invention the crystals formed may indeed be quite small so long as they are aliened as discussed herein. When such alignment is presere; propose oriented silicon overgrc th can occur.

    [0015] The crystal structure of NoTl type intermetal lic compounds is dual diamond. The atoms of one element; e.g., Al, when considered together, form a diamond lattice, and the atoms of the other element, e.g., Li, when considered together form a second diamond lattice. The two lattices interpenetrate one another (see. e.g., U.S. Patent 4,042, 447). In the basic diamond and dual diamond lattices, as can be seen by reference to Figure 1b each Al atom 10 lies at the center of a tetrahedron with the four nearest Al neighbours 11, 12, 13 and 14 lying at the corners. The four-fold covalent-type bonds 15, 16, 17 and 18 are made. respectively, with the four nearest Al neighbours 11, 12, 13 and 14. In basic diamond crystal structures the con- stituent elements carbon (diamond), silicon, germanium and grey tin, have four electrons available to share respectively, with the four neighbours. When this symmetry is perpetuated by open-ended three dimensional growth with the Li lattice interpenetrating the Al lattice, the crystal structure of Figures 1, la, 2, 3 and 4 is formed with the lighter spheres representing Al and the darker sphered representing Li, The principal crystallographic plane is the (111) plane shown in plan view in Figure 1 and in cross-section view in Figure 4. This principal plane contains significant projections of three of the four bonds with the remaining bond being orthororal to the plane; the next most significant planes, respectively, are the (110) and the (100) planes whose surface configurations are shown in Figures 2 and 3. These three planes thus are the major crystallographic planes of the diamond and dual diamond lattices. Due to the four-fold symmetry, the (111) plane is repeated three additional times at three different rotations through 120°. A perfect crystal of the diamond structure would be an octahedron with these four planar surfaces and their mirror images forming the eight facets; in gem quality diamonds and in solid single crystal silicon surfaces, degeneracy at the corners often produces additional faceting. However, the (111) plane is clearly the principal plane. It possesses the highest atom density as well as the highest bond concentration of any crystollographic plane in the diamond and dual diamond lattices. In electromagnetic terms it has the highest electron current through the plane and the highest potential for paramagnetic moments to be formed in-the-plane of any crystallographic plane. Yet in silicon, diamond, geranium or grey tin, the properties of this plane are not unique since it is repeated four times in a single crystal. Each of these four planes is identical in its crystal structure and in its electrical and magnetic properties to each of the others. Thus , there is no anisotropy as between these planes. In addition, even if there were any anisotropy as between these planes, the materials are diamagnetic and the diamagnetic property is not useful in establishing order or submicroscopic level to assist in oriented crysstallization in view of the tumbling effect previously described.

    [0016] In the dual diamond structures of the LiZn, LiCd and LiAl intermetallic compounds a given (111) plane of, e.g., the Al atoms is distinguishable in the presence of a magnetic field from the other three stucturally similar planes due to paramagnetic anisotropy. In the presence an external magnetic field the concentration of paramagnetic moments in the (111) plane which form in alignment with the field will distinguish it from the three other (111) planes, In microscopic crvstallites of LiAl the three valence electrons from Al preferentially contribute to the bonds with significant projections in this plane; the electron contributed by Li will preferentially form the bond erthogonal to the plane which is in alignment with field. In addition to alignment at the crystal level due paramegnetic anisotryopy, since atomic Al is paramagnetic, to paramc gnetic anisotropy, since atomic Al is paramagnetic, individual Al atoms will align with the the applied field before they join the growing crystal or join together to form a submicroscopic nucleus. The Al atoms thus are properly oriented to fit where they belong. Similarly, submicroscopic nuclei or clusters come to the growing crystal with proper orientation. The paramagnetism of Li may also contribute to the oriented crystallization. With LiZn and LiCd the paramagnetic anisotropy is less pronounced at the crystal level since the sharing is of the Parli type and therefore more complex; also, there is no cooperative effect at the atomic level since both Cd and Zn are individually diamagnetic. With LiAl paramagnetic anisotropy at the crystal level along with atomic paramagnetism leads to crystallization of the (111) plane in alignment with (parallel to) the applied field. The external field neither provides the energy for crystallization nor forces bonding to occur in a particular orientation. Rather, it affects those atoms, submicroscopic nuclei and crystallites which are free to rotate, i.e., are not then engaging in strong inter-atomic maine ic interactions, by inducing paramagnetic moments which tend to rotate the atoms, submicroscopic nuclei and crystallites into alignment with the field subject to the opposition of the thermal kinetic forces. The inter- atomic magnetic forces then control crystallization. The preferred embodiment of the method of the present invention, then, is to form a crystalline film of LiAl with its (111) crystallographic plane in alignment with an external magnetic field.

    [0017] With the sodium thallium type intermetallic compounds the cooperative interaction of the electrons of the two constituent elements permits a bonding arrangement akin to the four-fold covalent bond in conventional diamond crystal structures. For example, Al, which is in column III of the periodic table and normally has three valence electrons, by itself would bond together in a face centred cubic lattice. The cooperative interaction with Li allows it to enter the diamond type crystal structure. The exact nature of the cooperation is disputed, (see M.B. McNeil, et al., "Stabilization and Chemical Bonding in Zintl Phases", J. Phys C: Sol. St-Phys, v. 6, 1(1973)). For the purpose of the method of the present invention it is sufficient to understand that the crystal structure of each constituent element is identical to that of diamond in its geometrical arrangement and that the heavier element has a preponderance of the bonding charge. The Li atoms, it may be said, are caught in the interstices of the lattice of the heavier element; alternatively, it may be said that Li atoms are positioned propitiously so as to allow the valence electron of each Li atom to double as the fourth valence electron for a respective Al. From a bonding perspective, then, LiAl, LiZn and LiCd can be considered as having a diamond type crystal structure comprising Al, Zn and Cd, respectively, with interstitial Li which contributes additional bonding charge.

    [0018] By reference to Figure 4 it can be seen that the dual diamond structure perpetuates the symmetry of the diamond lattice by a three dimensional congruency of the constituent lattices. Thus, the (111) plane of, e.g., Al is parallel to the (111) plane of Li. In effect, a layered type structure is obtained when the (111) plane is considered; a layer that is principally aluminium is separated by a layer that is principally Li, This layered effect introduces a paramagnetic anisotropy, analogous to the diamagnetic anisotropy in graphite and antimony, which is utilized in the method of the present invention to assist in oriented crystallization.

    [0019] As will be seen from Figure 4, two Li atoms bracke each Al-Al bond, e.g., bonds 20, 21, 22 and 23 which are orthogonal to the (111) plane. These two atoms are able to contribute bonding charge to this bond when a magnetic field is applied and the three Al electrons form the bonds in the (111) plane. Each of the three counterpart planes which have the same crystal symmetry and atom density will only have two of the three Al electron bonds. In addition, the preconditions for crystallization, oriented atoms and submicroscopic nuclei, are only found in the plane aligned with (parallel to) the applied magnetic field. The (111) plane forms in alignment with the external field since the preconditions exist for nucleation and growth and paramagnetic anisotropy keeps the growth in the plane. The resultant dual diamond LiAl structure is much like a structure of Al planes adhered together by interstitial Li Planes. The institial Li planes have the Li properly positioned so as to contribute to the bonding of Al plane to Al plane.

    [0020] The interatomic and microscopic interaction of the paramagnetic sodium thalliur compounds with an external magnetic field are consistent with the interactions of paramagnetic crystals with an external magnetic field. Tyndall in his classic experiments on the magnetic properties of naturally occuring mineral crystals established in On Diamagnetism and Hagnetrocrystallic Action (1870) that a rotably mounted single mineral crystal of a paramagnetic substance sought alignment of a principal crystallographic plane with the applied field. In essence the denser packing in the principal crystallographic plane placed in a preponderance of the small paramagnetic moments in a single plane so that this plane tended to align with the applied field in preference to any other plane in the crystal. On the other hand, Tyndall demonstrated that a rotatably mounted naturally occuring single crystal of a diamagnetic substance does not seek alignment along a principal crystallographic plane. Rather, alignment of the fully formed crystal occured perpendicular to a principal crystallographic plane. This property of a fully formed paramagnetic crystal is consistent with the interaction at the atomic level which is relied upon by the method of the present invention. In addition, the rotational motion which produces instability attributed herein to the diamaznetic compounds is confirmed.

    [0021] The method of the present invention produces a film of one of the paramagnetic intermetallic compound of the sodium thallium type. The term film is used in the general sense of non-bulk, i.e., in the sense of a layer which is produced at the site or in the configuration in which it will be used, as opposed to a crystal which is grown in bulk and subsequently sawn before being used. The term film includes a thin film produced en a dissimilar substrate, a layer produced on a planar or on a curved substrate, a surface layer produced as a continuation of a solid substrate such as a LiAl surface layer on an aluminium sheet, or a layer of the intermetallic compound formed from the melt, i.e., a cast sheet, to which silicon is applied directly. The substrate on which the layer is formed may be ceramic, metal or other suitable material which does not react in an undesirable manner with the layer. The substrate may, e.g., affect the crystallographic plane which aligns with the applied field. Thus, while the preponderance of substrate materials the (111) plane forms in parallel alignment with the applied field, the selection of a titanium substrate may lead to the alignment of the (110) plane with the replied field; however, selection of suitably higher field strengths can override the effect (see L.L. Eprath, "Growth of Polycrystalline Silicon Films on Titanium and Aluminium Layers". J. of Electronic Material, V. 4, p. 1207 (1975)). The layer may be applied to the substrate in sandwich forms (see H. Zezuka et al., "Study of NaTl Type I aIIIb Li Com- pounds Prepared by the Sandwich-Type Evaporation Method", Thin Solid Films, V. 30, p. 11 et seq. (1975)). Li may be implanted into the upper surface region of a solid substrate of Al, or Li may be dissolved in liquid aluminium with LiAl crystallizing cut.

    [0022] The constituent elements are supplied to the layer in the appropriate proportions to pernit the intermetallic compound with the sodium thallium dual diamond crvstal structure to be formed in at least a portion of the layer. This proportionality may ary over a range to permit, e.g. a nonstoichiometric portion of the layer to be removed in a clcaning step or to permit a compound slightly deficient in one of the constituent elements to be formed. The three compounds are stable and homogenous for a range of at least 5 to 20 percent about the stoichiometric ratio End hence the term substantially steichiometric as used herein is meant to i clude this range. For example, the LiAl lattice is found to be especially stable when there are 2.7% vacancies at the Li sites (the equivalent of about 48.7 atomic percent of Lithium)); see H.E. Schone, et al., "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Intermetallic Compounds", Acta Metallurgica, Vol. 11, p. 179 (1963)). Since this lattice has greater paramagnetism, it is in fact preferred over the stoichiometric lattice in practicing the method of the present invention. From the phase diagram of Figure 5 it can be seen that LiAl is stable from about 45 atomic percent lithium to about 55 atomic percent lithium. Lithium-deficient compositions having 47-49 atomic percent Li are generally preferred in our method. From Figure 6 it can be seen that LiZn is stable from about 50 percent lithium and up at low temperatures and from about 43 atomic percent lithium to the eutectic curve at higher temperatures. From Figure 7 it can be seen that LiCd is stable from about 45 to about 70 atomic percent lithium The method of the present invention may be practiced over these ranges since the desired crystal structure is obtained.

    [0023] The intermetallic compounds are energetically preferred and hence form readily even at temperatures well below their eutectic temperatures with somewhat longer times being needed at somewhat lower temperatures. For example, polycrystalline LiAl has been formed by evaporation at 350°C and annealing at 350°C for more than 90 minutes. (H. Kezuka et al., "Study of NaTl-Type IaIIIbLi Compounds Prepared by the Sandwich-Type Evaporation Method", Thin Solid Films, Vol. 30, p. 11 (1975)). As can be seen from Table II the melting points of the intermetallic compounds are greater than the melting points of the heavier element (Li melts at 180.50C).



    [0024] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention the strong magnetic field is applied to the laver in the temperature range between about the eutectic temperature of the compound and about the temperature at which the heavier metal melts; with LiAl, for example, the preferred temperature range is from about 660°C to about 718°C. This preferred embodiment may be practiced by cooling down through the eutectic or by cooling in the solid state in the middle regions of the range. Since the: intermetallic compounds are not ferromagnetic there is no Curie point above which magnetic treatment cannot be applied. The crystal structure, not remnant magnetization, is the objective and this is preferably reached by applying a magnetic field in this range. The method of the present invention has utility as well at lower temperatures since the three compounds are highly energetically preferred and experience oriented recrystallization in the presence of the strong magnetic field. In general, however, the higher the temperature the better the quality of the crystalline film.

    [0025] The paramagnetic susceptibilities of LiZn, LiCd and LiAl as shown previously in Table I are much smaller than the susceptibilities of ferromagnetic materials, e.g., Fe, Ki, or Co. Thus, a strong magnetic field should preferably be used, one that is greater than needed to magnetically saturate ferromagnetic materials. It is to be remembered as well that it is the property of paramagnetic anisotropy at the crystal field level and the paramagnetism of atoms and submicroscopic nuclei that are relied upon to influence the crystallographic order; the principal crystallographic plane e.g., the (111) plane, is the preferred plane to align with the externally applied magnetic field. This externally applied field should be high enough for a given temperature and anneal time to result in crystallization of the (111) plane in alignment with the field. In a preferred embodiment this field is greater than 1000 0e. In a still more preferred embodiment the field strength is at least 5,000 0e in order to assure positive alignment in the face of thermal kinetic and geometric forces. Allowance must be rade for those envirenments in which the layer is shielded, e.g., by a metallie substrate which is thick in comparison to the layer; in such environments even greater fields must be generated to produce the desired field strength within the layer. The preferred fields produce better quality crystalline material and higher rates of crystallisation. Practical fields of these strengths are produced by wire wound electromegnets well known in the art. Direct current electromagnets are preferred as they are able to produce steady magnetic fluxes at reasonable cost and can be scaled up to meet production requirements.

    [0026] The strong magnetic field may be applied at any selected angle with respect to the plane or curvature of the layer. In thin films there is the tendency for principal crystallographic planes to form in the plane of the film so relatively greater field strengths are required to produce, e.g., the (111) crystallographic plane perpendicular to the layer, than in the plane or congruent with the curvature of the layer, Normally the applied magnetic field will override the geometrical effects but in certain instances with moderate field strengths and high geometrical effects the crystallographic plane which is formed is slightly off alignment with the applied field due to this effect. In a preferred embodiment the gecmetrlc effect is combined with the magnetic field enhancement method of the present invention to produce the (111) crystallographic plare in the plane or congruent with the curvature of the layer. This embodiment permits the silicon applied subsequently to be applied in the same plane so that incident photene will strike the (111) silicon plane; in silicon this will

    the channeling effect in the ineisent photons and is preferred. In addition, a 6 x 6 surface array on lial will accommodate with less than 1% mismaton the naturally occuring 7 x 7 surface structure of (111) silicon. In arother embodiment the magnetic field and the layer are made to move relatively across one another to produce an made to move relstively across one another to produce an effect skin to the temperature gradient in fleat zone crystal

    (see K. Huriyama, "bridgmen Growth of Lithium Indium Sirgle Grysuals", J. Gryst. Growth, Vo 23, p, 160

    . Either the magnet or the layer can be moved relative to the other as in a continuous moving sheet raving a laver exposed to a wire wound iron core magnet and

    relative thereto as is described with reference to Fisures 5 and 9.

    [0027] The method of the present invention is generally practiced in a moderate vacuum on the order of 10-3 Torr or lower. Lithium and the intermetallic compounds LiAl, LiZn and LiCd are not highly reactive but they will oxidize and are particularly reactive with water vapour. It is preferred that the vacuum. not be broken prior to the application of silicon by, e.g., magnetically enhanced sputtering or other vapor phase deposition technique. The starting materials may be on the order of 99.9 percent pure, i.e., they need not be as pure as the silicon itself, since as described above the surface of the film can be processed prior to the application of silicon to remove impurities and to provide a suitable surface for nucleation and growth of crystalline silicon.

    [0028] In Figure 8 there is illustrated a first embodiment of apparatus in accordance with the present invention which is particularly designed for carrying out the above described method, Sriefly, an electromagnet 100 having a North pole 101 nad a South pole 102 is positioned within a vacuum Chamber 109. A sheet of aluminium (or zine or cadmium) 104 is fed from a feed roll 105 and a take up roll 106 with the sheet 104 passing between the poles 101 and 102 and forming an angle of generally 90° with the magnetic field created by the poles. It should be noted that a plate of aluminium can replace the sheet 104 with appropriate feed means substituting for the rolls 105 and 106. Argon ions or electrons from a source 107 are directed asainst a supply 108 of lithium whereby through conventional sputtering techniques lithium ions leave the lithium supply 108 with considerable energy and impinge upon a surface 109 of the sheet 104. Because of the relatively high energy of the lithium ions they penetrate the surfuce 109 and are implanted within a top region the surface 109 and are implanted within a top region below the surface109. As the sheet 104 is swept through the field the top region thereof, which has lithium and aluminium in substantially stoichiometric amounts for the formation of LiAl, is heated by heater 110 to a sufficient temperature and for a sufficient time to crystallize the LiAl with a principal (111) plane thereof generally parallel to the field. As the sheet 104 approaches the take up roll 106, argon ions or electrons from a source 111 are impinged on the uppermost portion of the LiAl thus conventionally sputter etching off a fraction of the uppermost portion of the LiAl to remove surface impurities and provide an effective surface for nucleation and growth of silicon which can then be conventionally impinged onto the cleaned LiAl by any vapor phase deposition technique, for example, by impinging argon ions or electrons onto a silicon supply 112 from an ion or electron source 113 or by other conventional techniques such as those discussed in U.S. Patent 4,042,447.

    [0029] It will be noted that in the embodiment of the apparatus just described LiAl is formed with a principal crystallographic plane parallel to the applied field due to the influence of that field. This orientation is attained against the tendency of a principal crystallographic plane to form in the plane of the film (region) of lithium and aluminium on the surface 109, which tendency, due to the 90° orientation of the sheet 104 relative to the field, would normally tend to produce orientation of a principal crystallographic plane perpendicular to the field.

    [0030] In Figure 9 in which corresponding items are numbered as in Figure 8, there is illustrated a second embodiment of apparatus in accordance with the present invention. In the apparatus of Figure 9, the magnetic field is aligned, during heating of the lithium-aluminium region or film, generally parallel to the surface 109 of the sheet 104. Thus, the natural tendency of a principal crystallographic plane to form in the plane of the film of crystallizing material is used additively with the effect crystallizing material is used additively of the field.

    [0031] Briefly the sheet 104 passes from an upper roll 105 and a lower roll 106 and it is guided by rollers 114, 1I5, 116 and 117 into the field between the poles 101 and 102 of the magnet 100. The rollers 115 and 116 are vertically separated from one another so that the surface 109 is parallel to the field when opposite the heater 110. It should be noted that this configuration allows the use of smaller pole faces on the magnet 100 and easy application of heat from the heater 110 which is kept out of any direct physical contact with the poles 101 and 102. It should further be noted that while terms such as upper, lower and vertical have been used to explain the embodiment of Figures & and 9, these terms have been used for convenience only anc the entire apparatus can be rotated inte anv orientation and still retain its full usefullness.

    [0032] It will be appreciated that in apparatus such as shown in Figures 8 and 9, the sputtering rate of the lithium can be controlled by well known techricues. Thus for anv given system, preliminary experiments are performed to calibrate the system to provide a tabulation of sputtering rate per element per energy unit. An appropriate rate can then be selected in accordance with the chosen method.


    Claims

    1. A method for forming a crystalline filr of a paramagnetic sodium thallium type intermetallic compound having a dual diamond crystal structure, comprising the
    producing a layer on one surface of a substrate, said layer containing the constituent elements of said magnetic field having a selected orientation with respect at a sufficient temperature to permit crvstallisation to in aligned relation to the orientation of said magnetic
     
    2. A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the inter-


     
    3.thod as claimed in claim 1 wherein the intermetallic compound is LiZn or LiCd.
     
    A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the layer containing the constituent elements of the intermetallic compound is formed by introducing lithium inte the region below the surface of an aluminium, cadmium or zinc subtrate.
     
    5. A method as claimed in claim 4 wherein the layer is formed by impinging lithium ions onto an aluminium, cadmium or zinc sheet in a vacuum chamber.
     
    6. A method as claimed in any of the preceding claims wherein the substrate is a sheet of aluminium having a layer containing lithium in an amount sufficient to form (in at least a portion of the layer) a lithium-deficient structure with in which the atomic percentage of lithium is in the range 47 to 49%
     
    7. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the intermetallic compound is LiAl and said layer containing the constituent elements is heated to 660°C to 718°C,
     
    8. A method as claimed in any of the preceding claims wherein a magnetic field having a field strength of mere than 1000 oersteds is applied to the substrate.
     
    wherein the substrate is in sheet form and is meved through the magnetic field at a fixed angle relative to the field.
     
    10. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims which includes the subsequent step of depositing silicon onto the crystalline film of the intermetallic compound.
     
    11. Apparatus for forming a crystalline film of a paramagnetic sodium thallium intermetallic compound by a method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, comprising :

    means (105,106) for positioning the substrate (104) at a selected angl to a magnetic field;

    means (101,102) for establishing a magnetic field at a selected angle to the substrate (104) and;

    means (110) for heating said layer on the surface of the substrate (104) in the magnetic field.


     
    12. Apparatus as claimed in claim 9 which additionally comprises:

    means (107,108) for impinging lithium ions onto the substrate (104) before it is heated: and

    means (113,112) for depositing silicon onto the


     
    13. Avpsratus as claimed in claim 11 or claim 12 which additionally comprises means (111) for removing surface impurities from the substrate surface after the formation of the crystalline film.
     




    Drawing