Low Temperature PECVD Growth and Characterization of a-SiC:H Films Deposited from Silacyclobutane and Silane/Methane Precursor Gases
Research at Dow Corning includes the development of a-SiC:H films as protective coatings for electronics applications where the deposition temperature cannot exceed 250 °C. Results from a detailed study comparing a-SiC:H films deposited by electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) PECVD at 175 °C substrate temperature are presented. Two source gases were used: silacyclobutane, an organosilicon material produced in our laboratories, and a silane/methane mixture. Deposition properties, film structure and atomic composition have been characterized by ellipsometry, profilometry, internal reflection infrared spectroscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) and Rutherford Backscattering/Hydrogen Forward Scattering spectrometry (RBS/HFS). The low temperature growth process on silicon substrates results in a-SiC:H films that are under compressive stress. All samples had a typical hydrogen content of 50 atomic percent and the average carbon/silicon ratio varied from 1.0–1.9. The silacyclobutane precursor gave higher film growth rates and higher carbon concentrations, while more oxygen is observed in the films deposited from the silane/methane mixture. XPS and Raman data show silicon carbide-like bonding and amorphous carbon/DLC bonding, respectively. The results indicate that the precursor molecular structure can be correlated with different film growth properties and composition, and also that the process conditions can influence film properties to a similar degree.
KeywordsMethane Microwave Graphite Carbide Silane
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