Characterization of Surface and Structure of In Situ Doped Sol-Gel-Derived Silicon Carbide

Olivia Kettner, Sanja Šimić, Birgit Kunert, Robert Schennach, Roland Resel, Thomas Grießer, Bettina Friedel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silicon carbide (SiC), is an artificial semiconductor used for high-power transistors and blue LEDs, for its extraordinary properties. SiC will be attractive for more applications, but large-scale or large-surface area fabrication, with control over defects and surface is challenging. Sol-gel based techniques are an affordable alternative toward such requirements. This report describes two types of microcrystalline SiC derived after carbothermal reduction from sol-gel-based precursors, one with nitrogen added, the other aluminum. Characterization of their bulk, structure, and surface shows that incorporation of dopants affects the formation of polytypes and surface chemistry. Nitrogen leads exclusively to cubic SiC, exhibiting a native oxide surface. Presence of aluminum instead promotes growth of hexagonal polytypes and induces self-passivation of the crystallites' surface during growth. This is established by hydrogenation of silicon bonds and formation of a protecting aluminum carbonate species. XPS provides support for the suggested mechanism. This passivation is achieved in only one step, solely by aluminum in the precursor. Hence, it is shown that growth, doping and passivation of SiC can be performed as "one-pot synthesis". Material without insulating oxide and a limited number of defects is highly valuable for applications involving surface-sensitive charge-transfer reactions, therefore the potential of this method is significant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1701067
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalAdvanced Engineering Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Self-passivation
  • Silicon carbide
  • Sol-gel processing
  • Surface termination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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