A comparative study of thin aluminum nitride (AlN) films deposited by plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition in the SENTECH SI ALD LL system applying either a direct inductively coupled plasma (ICP) or an indirect capacitively coupled plasma (CCP) source is presented. The films prepared with the ICP source (based on a planar triple spiral antenna) exhibit improved properties concerning the growth rate per cycle, total cycle duration, homogeneity, refractive index, fixed and mobile electrical charges, and residual oxygen content compared to the CCP source, where the comparison is based on the applied plasma power of 200 W. The increase of the plasma power to 600 W in the ICP process significantly reduces the residual oxygen content and enhances the electrical breakdown field. The AlN layers grown under these conditions, with a growth rate per cycle of 1.54 Å/cycle, contain residual oxygen and carbon concentrations of about 10% and 4%, respectively, and possess a refractive index of 2.07 (at 632.8 nm).

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