Photothermal alternative to device fabrication using atomic precision advanced manufacturing techniques
The attachment of dopant precursor molecules to depassivated areas of hydrogen-terminated silicon templated with a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) has been used to create electronic devices with sub-nanometer precision, typically for quantum physics demonstrations, and to dope silicon past the solid-solubility limit, with potential applications in microelectronics and plasmonics. However, this process, which we call atomic precision advanced manufacturing (APAM), currently lacks the throughput required to develop sophisticated applications because there is no proven scalable hydrogen lithography pathway. Here, we demonstrate and characterize an APAM device workflow where STM lithography has been replaced with photolithography. An ultraviolet laser is shown to locally heat silicon controllably above the temperature required for hydrogen depassivation. STM images indicate a narrow range of laser energy density where hydrogen has been depassivated, and the surface remains well-ordered. A model for photothermal heating of silicon predicts a local temperature which is consistent with atomic-scale STM images of the photo-patterned regions. Finally, a simple device made by exposing photo-depassivated silicon to phosphine is found to have a carrier density and mobility similar to that produced by similar devices patterned by STM.