Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 157–174 | Cite as

Plasma Composition by Mass Spectrometry in a Ar-SiH4-H2 LEPECVD Process During nc-Si Deposition

  • T. Moiseev
  • D. Chrastina
  • G. Isella
Original Paper


Mass spectrometry has been used to assess plasma composition during a low-energy plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (LEPECVD) process using argon-silane-hydrogen (Ar-SiH4-H2) gas mixtures with input flows of 50 sccm Ar, 2–20 sccm SiH4 and 0–50 sccm H2 at total pressures of 1–4 Pa. Energy-integrated ion densities, residual gas analysis and threshold ionization mass spectrometry have been used to characterize the transition from amorphous (a-Si) to nano-crystalline silicon (nc-Si) deposition at constant LEPECVD operating parameters. While relative ion densities have a marked decrease with H2 input, the densities of SiHx (x < 4) radicals show evolution trends depending on the SiH4 and H2 input. For conditions leading to nc-Si growth a turning point is reached above which SiH is the main radical. Observed SiHx density trends with H2 input are explained based on kinetic reaction rates calculated from previously obtained Langmuir probe data.


Mass spectrometry Silane nc-Si Hydrogen dilution LEPECVD 



Part of this work was funded by the European Commission, FP6 NANOPHOTO Project Contract 013944 and by the CARIPLO Foundation, Italy. The authors are grateful to Prof. Hans von Känel from ETH Zürich and Prof. C. Cavallotti from Politecnico di Milano for their support. The authors wish to thank Dr. A.Y. Gonzalvo, Dr. C. Green and the entire staff of Hiden Ltd. UK for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di Milano, Polo Regionale di Como, LNESSComoItaly

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