SiO2 microstructure evolution during plasma deposition analyzed via ellipsometric porosimetry

Buschhaus, R. and von Keudell, A.

Volume: 16 Pages:
DOI: 10.1002/ppap.201900015
Published: 2019

The evolution of (Formula presented.) microstructures, deposited from hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) and oxygen gas mixtures by two different low pressure plasma sources, namely an inductively coupled plasma (ICP process) at 3 Pa and a microwave plasma (MW process) at 100 Pa, is evaluated and compared. The microstructure is monitored using ellipsometric porosimetry (EP) applying three different solvent molecules (water, ethanol, and toluene) to probe the different adsorption and absorption mechanisms as well as the pore sizes. Both plasma processes are adjusted so that an equivalent oxygen atom contribution to the growth flux is established and that an equivalent specific energy per molecule is dissipated in the process. The major difference is the partial pressure of the HMDSO precursor molecules, which is 0.04 Pa in the ICP process and 1 Pa in the MW process. The porosimetry analysis indicates that the (Formula presented.) films originating from the MW process are more porous than those from the ICP process. The pore sizes are typically in the range of 0.3 nm for films deposited from both plasma processes. This is explained by assuming that the gas phase polymerization in the MW process is much stronger due to the higher HMDSO partial pressure and, therefore, the (Formula presented.) films are deposited from larger HMDSO fragments in the MW process compared with smaller HMDSO fragments in the ICP process. This difference in the main growth species becomes visible in the different microstructures. Consequently, a plasma process using smaller precursor partial pressures seems to be optimal. © 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

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