Suppressed surface morphology instabilities in amorphous hydrogenated silicon deposition

Dalakos, George T.; Plawsky, Joel L.; Persans, Peter D.
October 2004
Applied Physics Letters;10/18/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 16, p3462
Academic Journal
The surface chemistry associated with a-Si:H growth by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition is unique in that the hydrogen-passivated surface results in a low threshold energy for surface diffusion relative to the cohesive energies of the material. We show that helium ion bombardment enhances the hopping rate of loosely bound film precursors without substantially affecting the condensed a-Si:H material. Our investigative approach consists of examination of the temporal evolution of the surface topography under different substrate bias conditions. Without biasing the substrate, the surface morphology becomes unstable, producing mounded-type structures, consistent with shadowing growth instability. Biasing the substrate suppresses these instabilities and allows an initially rough a-Si:H surface to be smoothed during subsequent deposition.


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