In this study, Mn silicate (MnSiO3) barrier layers were formed on thermally grown SiO2 using both metallic Mn and oxidized Mn films, in order to investigate the role of oxygen in determining the extent of the interaction between the deposited Mn and the SiO2 substrate. Using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, it has been shown that a metallic Mn film with an approximate thickness of 1 nm cannot be fully converted to Mn silicate following vacuum annealing to 500 °C. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis suggests the maximum MnSiO3 layer thickness obtainable using metallic Mn is ∼1.7 nm. In contrast, a ∼1 nm partially oxidized Mn film can be fully converted to Mn silicate following thermal annealing to 400 °C, forming a MnSiO3 layer with a measured thickness of 2.6 nm. TEM analysis also clearly shows that MnSiO3 growth results in a corresponding reduction in the SiO2 layer thickness. It has also been shown that a fully oxidized Mn oxide thin film can be converted to Mn silicate, in the absence of metallic Mn. Based on these results it is suggested that the presence of Mn oxide species at the Mn/SiO2 interface facilitates the conversion of SiO2 to MnSiO3, in agreement with previously published studies.

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