A systematic study of kinetics and thermodynamics of Si (111) surface nitridation under ammonia exposure is presented. The appeared silicon nitride (8 × 8) structure is found to be a metastable phase. Experimental evidences of graphene-like nature of the silicon nitride (8 × 8) structure are presented. Interlayer spacings in the (SiN)2(AlN)4 structure on the Si (111) surface are found equal to 3.3 Å in SiN and 2.86 Å in AlN. These interlayer spacings correspond to weak van der Waals interaction between layers. In contrast to the widely accepted model of a surface structure (8 × 8) as monolayer of β-Si3N4 on Si (111) surface, we propose a new graphene-like Si3N4 (g-Si3N3 and/or g-Si3N4) model for the (8 × 8) structure. It is revealed that the deposition of Al atoms on top of a highly ordered (8 × 8) structure results in graphene-like AlN (g-AlN) layers formation. The g-AlN lattice constant of 3.08 Å is found in a good agreement with the ab initio calculations. A transformation of the g-AlN to the bulk-like wurtzite AlN is analyzed.
Part of the book: 2D Materials