In situ dewetting phenomenon of Ni silicide thin film on Si substrate

In situ hot stage scanning electron microscopy has been done using the Environnemental SEM FEG QUATTRO (Thermo Fisher Scientific).

Sample of NiSi thin film on Si substrate was heated in vacuum mode with the following ramp: 30 K.min-1 up to 450°C, 10 K.min-1 up to 550°C, and finally slower till 600°C (5 K.min-1 ). Then the sample was hold at 600°C during almost 4 hours. Images were done at 10keV with Everhart-Thornley Detector. Pictures were taken every 1 or 2 minutes in order to study the mechanisms and the kinetic. With the increase of time, small NiSi grains disappear, and some special NiSi grains (in white) grow slowly to become large grains. Meanwhile, the fraction of exposed Si phase (in black) increases. A high magnification video shows the grain by grain disappearance of small NiSi grains.


Microscope used: ESEM FEG Quattro at CLYM facility in Lyon (France).

High Magnification video x20k:

Low Magnification video x5k: