Low-temperature (≤200 °C) epitaxial growth yields precise thickness, doping, and thermal-budget control, which enables advanced-design semiconductor devices. In this paper, we use plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition to grow homo-epitaxial layers and study the different growth modes on crystalline silicon substrates. In particular, we determine the conditions leading to epitaxial growth in light of a model that depends only on the silane concentration in the plasma and the mean free path length of surface adatoms. For such growth, we show that the presence of a persistent defective interface layer between the crystalline silicon substrate and the epitaxial layer stems not only from the growth conditions but also from unintentional contamination of the reactor. Based on our findings, we determine the plasma conditions to grow high-quality bulk epitaxial films and propose a two-step growth process to obtain device-grade material.

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