Dependence of Mechanical Stresses in Silicon Nitride Films on the Mode of Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition
Films of silicon nitride SiNx, obtained by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition from the monosilane SiH4 and ammonia NH3 gases, are widely used in microelectronics and micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems. Residual mechanical stresses and film composition are important characteristics for many applications. The properties of SiNx films, particularly mechanical stresses and composition, depend largely on the conditions of production, e.g., the ratio of the reacting gas flow rates, the composition of the gas mixture, the power and frequency of the plasma generator, and the temperature and pressure during deposition. Despite the great volume of works on the subject, data regarding the dependence of the properties and composition of SiNx films on the conditions of production remain sparse. This work considers the effect the ratio of the reacting gas flow rates has on the mechanical stresses and composition of silicon nitride films SiNx obtained by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition from gaseous mixtures of SiH4 monosilane and NH3 ammonia using low-frequency plasma. It is found that when the ratio of the gas flow rates of SiH4 and NH3 is raised from 0.016 to 0.25, the compressive mechanical stresses are reduced by 31%, the stoichiometric coefficient falls from 1.40 to 1.20, the refractive index rises from 1.91 to 2.08, the concentration of N–H bonds is reduced by a factor of 7.4, the concentration of Si–H bonds grows by a factor of 8.7, and the concentration of hydrogen atoms is reduced by a factor of 1.5. These results can be used for the controlled production of SiNx films with such specified characteristics as residual mechanical stresses, refractive index, stoichiometric coefficient, and the concentration of hydrogen-containing bonds.
Keywords:films of PECVD silicon nitride SiNx mechanical stresses IR Fourier spectroscopy optical profilometry
This work was supported by the RF Ministry of Education and Science, agreement no. 14.578.21.0188, unique identifier RFMEFI57816X0188. Some measurements were made on equipment at the Microsystem Equipment and Electronic Component Base shared resource center of National Research University (MIET).
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