Retrograde Melting and Internal Liquid Gettering in Silicon



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Retrograde melting (melting upon cooling) is observed in silicon doped with 3d transition metals, via synchrotron-based temperature-dependent X-ray microprobe measurements. Liquid metal-silicon droplets formed via retrograde melting act as efficient sinks for metal impurities dissolved within the silicon matrix. Cooling results in decomposition of the homogeneous liquid phase into solid multiple-metal alloy precipitates. These phenomena represent a novel pathway for engineering impurities in semiconductor-based systems.