Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 29, Issue 22, pp 5880–5886 | Cite as

Chromium catalysed silicon nitridation

  • C. G. Cofer
  • J. A. Lewis


Silicon powder compacts were fabricated with various amounts of chromium (0–5 at %) deposited onto the surface of the silicon powder by a solution-deposition process. These compacts were heated to several maximum temperatures in the range 1100–1250‡C in a flowing 10% H2/90% N2 atmosphere to evaluate the effect of the chromium content on the silicon nitridation. It was observed that silicon compacts containing 5 at % Cr were fully nitrided in approximately 3 h at 1150‡C, while less than 8% nitridation was achieved for pure-silicon compacts (with 0 at % Cr) compacts under the same conditions. Single-crystal silicon wafers with a 50 nm chromium layer were also nitrided; this provided a planar geometry, which facilitated our study of the catalysis mechanism. The rate-controlling process was shown to be first order, which may be indicative of a nucleation-and-growth mechanism, which is commonly observed for α-silicon-nitride formation. This work demonstrates the feasibility of producing reaction-bonded silicon nitride at low temperatures using chromium catalysis, and it indicates the potential for fabricating fibre-reinforced silicon-nitride composites containing thermally sensitive fibres.


Chromium Nitrided Silicon Wafer Silicon Nitride Catalysis Mechanism 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. G. Cofer
    • 1
  • J. A. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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