Diffusion barriers prevent materials from intermixing (e.g., undesired doping) in electronic devices. Most diffusion barrier materials are often very specific for a certain combination of materials and/or change the energetics of the interface because they are insulating or add to the contact resistances. This paper presents graphene (Gr) as an electronically transparent, without adding significant resistance to the interface, diffusion barrier in metal/semiconductor devices, where Gr prevents Au and Cu from diffusion into the Si, and unintentionally dope the Si. We studied the electronic properties of the n-Si(111)/Gr/M Schottky barriers (with and without Gr and M = Au or Cu) by I(V) measurements and at the nanoscale by ballistic electron emission spectroscopy (BEEM). The layer of Gr does not change the Schottky barrier of these junctions. The Gr barrier was stable at 300 °C for 1 h and prevented the diffusion of Cu into n-Si(111) and the formation of Cu3Si. Thus, we conclude that the Gr is mechanically and chemically stable enough to withstand the harsh fabrication methods typically encountered in clean room processes (e.g., deposition of metals in high vacuum conditions at high temperatures), it is electronically transparent (it does not change the energetics of the Si/Au or Si/Cu Schottky barriers), and effectively prevented diffusion of the Cu or Au into the Si at elevated temperatures and vice versa.
- diffusion barrier
- electronically transparent