Electrons can enhance SiO2 atomic layer deposition (ALD) at low temperatures using disilane (Si2H6) and either ozone (O3/O2) or water (H2O) as reactants. SiO2 electron-enhanced ALD (EE-ALD) was demonstrated at 35 °C by exposing the sample to sequential electron, oxygen reactant, and Si2H6 exposures. The reaction sequence was electron beam exposure for 3 s, purge for 5 s, O3/O2 or H2O exposure at 0.5–1.0 Torr for 3 s, purge for 10 s, Si2H6 exposure at 100 mTorr for 1 s, and purge for 15 s. The electron exposure was an electron current of ∼150 mA for 3 s. The electrons were produced by a hollow cathode plasma electron source typically operating with a grid bias of ≈−300 V. These electrons could irradiate a sample area of ∼2 × 2 cm2. In situ spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements determined that SiO2 EE-ALD films nucleated rapidly and deposited linearly versus number of EE-ALD cycles. The SiO2 EE-ALD growth rate was 0.89 Å/cycle using O3/O2 and 0.88 Å/cycle using H2O. The SiO2 growth rate was also self-limiting at higher electron and Si2H6 exposures. In addition, SiO2 EE-ALD films were grown by changing the reaction sequence or codosing the electrons with the oxygen reactant. The SiO2 EE-ALD films could be grown on conducting silicon wafers or insulating SiO2 films. SiO2 EE-ALD is believed to be possible on insulating SiO2 films because the secondary electron yield for SiO2 at electron energies of ∼100–300 eV is greater than unity. Under these conditions, the SiO2 film charges positive during electron exposure and then pulls back secondary electrons to maintain charge neutrality. The SiO2 EE-ALD films had properties that were comparable with thermal SiO2 oxides. The refractive indices of the SiO2 EE-ALD films were similar at n = 1.44 ± 0.02 for various process conditions and equivalent to the refractive index of a wet thermal SiO2 oxide film. In addition, all the SiO2 EE-ALD films yielded etch rates in dilute buffered oxide etch solution that were only slightly higher than the etch rate of a thermal SiO2 oxide film. SiO2 EE-ALD should be useful to deposit high-quality SiO2 films for various applications at low temperatures.
Electron-enhanced SiO2 atomic layer deposition at 35 °C using disilane and ozone or water as reactants
Jonas C. Gertsch, Zachary C. Sobell, Andrew S. Cavanagh, Harsono Simka, Steven M. George; Electron-enhanced SiO2 atomic layer deposition at 35 °C using disilane and ozone or water as reactants. J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 1 July 2023; 41 (4): 042404. https://doi.org/10.1116/6.0002726
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