SiGe 25% substrates were treated with aqueous solutions of ammonium sulfide with and without added acid to understand the adsorption of sulfur on the surface. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed no sulfide layer was deposited from aqueous (NH4)2S alone and instead both Si and Ge oxides formed during immersion in the sulfur solution. The addition of hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids dropped the pH from 10 to 8 and deposited sulfides, yet increased the oxide coverage on the surface and preferentially formed Ge oxides. The sulfur coverage grew with increasing concentrations of acid in the aqueous (NH4)2S. The simultaneous deposition of O and S is suspected to be the result of oxidized sulfur species in solution. Metal-insulator-semiconductor capacitor (MISCAP) devices were fabricated to test the electrical consequences of aqueous ammonium sulfide wet chemistries on SiGe. MISCAPs treated with acidic ammonium sulfide solutions contained fewer interface defects in the valence band region. The defect density (Dit) was on the order of 10+12 cm–2 eV−1. The flat band voltage shift was lower after the acidic ammonium sulfide treatment, despite the presence of surface oxides. Adsorption of S and potentially O improved the stability of the surface and made it less electrically active.

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