Etching study of dislocations in heavily nitrogen doped SiC crystals
Extensive study of threading dislocations in 4H SiC crystals has been carried out using etching in molten KOH. In contrast to well-defined hexagonal pits formed on lightly doped 4H epilayers, etching of bulk 4H SiC crystals heavily doped with nitrogen produced rounded etch pits with their sizes varying in a wide range. Neither shape nor size of the etch pits in the bulk n+4H crystals could be used to distinguish between threading edge and treading screw dislocations. Data on the density of threading screw dislocations were obtained by counting etch pits on the carbon face of the wafers.
Sequential steps of material removal, which included polishing followed by KOH etching, were used to track threading dislocations along the growth direction. It was found that a threading dislocation can produce etch pits of different sizes at different depths in the wafer.
Mobility of the front of threading dislocations during growth was assessed by measuring change in the position of the dislocation etch pits upon sequential material removal. Statistical distribution of such displacements in the wafer plane was found to be lognormal. On average, the growth distance of 8 μm corresponded to the change in the etch pit position of about 2 μm. This shows that the front of threading dislocations has significant mobility during SiC sublimation growth, resulting in tilted or curved dislocation lines in the grown crystal.