Generation of single-crystalline domain in nano-scale silicon pillars by near-field short pulsed laser
We observe laser-induced grain morphology change in silicon nanopillars under a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) environment. We couple the TEM with a near-field scanning optical microscopy pulsed laser processing system. This novel combination enables immediate scrutiny on the grain morphologies that the pulsed laser irradiation produces. We find unusual transformation of the tip of the amorphous or polycrystalline silicon pillar into a single crystalline domain via melt-mediated crystallization. On the basis of the three-dimensional finite difference simulation result and the dark field TEM data, we propose that the creation of the distinct single crystalline tip originates from the dominant grain growth initiated at the apex of the non-planar liquid-solid interface. Our microscopic observation provides a fundamental basis for laser-induced conversion of amorphous nanostructures into coarse-grained crystals.