In order to elucidate the cause of the morphological transition of crystals growing in an undercooled melt of semiconducting materials, we carried out the containerless solidification of undoped Si and Si-1 at%Sn using a CO2 laser-equipped electromagnetic levitator (EML). The crystallization of these materials was successfully achieved under controlled undercooling. The relation between the shape of growing crystals and the degree of undercooling in Si-1 at%Sn was similar to that in undoped Si; that is, plate-like needle crystals were observed at low undercooling, whereas at medium and high undercooling the shape of growing crystals changed to massive dendrites. The grain-size of as-solidified samples of Si-1 at%Sn was remarkably small compared with that of undoped Si. The surface morphologies of samples solidified by dropping the melt onto a chill plate of mirror-polished silicon consisted of typical twin-related <110> dendrites. On the other hand, samples that were dropped from the undercooled state consisted of twin-free <100> dendrites. The nucleation rate of two-dimensional nuclei calculated on the basis of two mechanisms, which are the twin-plane re-entrant edge mechanism and the twin-free mechanism, suggested that the morphological transition to twin-free <100> dendrites from twin-related <110> dendrites occurs when the degree of undercooling becomes larger than the critical value. These results indicate that the cause of the morphological transition of Si growing in the undercooled melt is not the roughening transition of the crystal–melt interface but the transition of the nucleation kinetics to the twin-free mechanism from the twin-related mechanism.
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