, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 277-300

Radio-Frequency Hexamethyldisiloxane Plasma Deposition: A Comparison of Plasma- and Deposit-Chemistry

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This study reports on the effect of input power to hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) plasmas. The power dependence of the plasma-phase species and of the surface chemistry (of the deposits) has been investigated. Neutral and positive molecular species were detected within the plasma using mass spectrometry (MS). Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) was used to probe the molecular structure of the deposits. The elemental composition of the surface was determined by XPS and the deposition rate was monitored using a vibrating quartz crystal microbalance. Neutral and cationic molecules of mass greater than HMDSO were detected in the plasma. Their formation through ion-molecule reactions is proposed. Changes in the relative concentration of plasma-phase species follow those seen in molecular species detected at the deposit surface. Thus, we believe that the molecular structure of the deposits can be related to the species present in the plasma. While traditionally the dominant mechanism in deposit formation is assumed to be free radical combinations, we propose other possibilities involving cations with the aim of putting forward a new perspective on plasma polymerization mechanisms and thereby stimulating discussion.