Ion-surface interactions on c-Si(001) at the radiofrequency-powered electrode in low-pressure plasmas: Ex situ spectroscopic ellipsometry and Monte Carlo simulation study

Aram Amassian*, P. Desjardins, L. Martinu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use variable-angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE) to investigate oxide and interface formation during plasma-oxidation of monocrystalline Si(001) at the radiofrequency (rf) powered electrode of a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition reactor. HF-etched c-Si (001) wafers were exposed to an oxygen plasma under conditions similar to those used in optical coatings deposition in order to ascertain the effects of plasma-bulk interactions, and to gauge to what depth O2+ and O+ ions interact with and alter the structure and composition of the target in the presence of negative self-bias, VB. From VASE analyses, modifications are best described using a two-layer model: A top layer consisting of Si O2 and a defective interfacial layer (DL) composed of a mixture of c-Si, a-Si, and Si O2. The saturation value of the modification depth (oxide and DL thickness) increases from 3.4±0.4 to 9.6±0.4 nm, for VB ranging from -60 to -600 V, respectively, and scales with Emax 12, where Emax is the maximum energy of ions from an rf discharge. These results are in agreement with nuclear ion-bulk interactions leading to atomic displacements and defect accumulation. The interfacial layer broadens with increasing ∫ VB ∫ while the fraction of a-Si detected increases from ∼1% up to ∼55% over the investigated VB range, indicative of ballistic and thus depth-dependent oxygen transport to the Si O2 -Si interface. Monte Carlo simulations in the binary collision approximation predict significant surface recession due to sputtering, therefore resulting in an apparent self-limiting oxidation mechanism. The surface layers reach their steady-state thicknesses within the first 2 min of plasma exposure and subsequently move into the bulk of the c-Si substrate as a result of oxide sputtering and oxygen transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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