Simultaneous short-range smoothening and global roughening during growth of hydrogenated amorphous silicon films

Sperling, Brent A.; Abelson, John R.
October 2004
Applied Physics Letters;10/18/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 16, p3456
Academic Journal
We investigate the evolution of surface morphology during hot-wire chemical vapor deposition of amorphous silicon films onto rough substrates. Using in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry, we find that the surface smoothens as the film grows. However, postdeposition atomic force microscopy reveals that the roughness is actually increasing linearly. We resolve this discrepancy by examining the power spectrum densities of the atomic force images, which indicate that the growth surface experiences both short-range smoothening and global roughening. The ellipsometry data are consistent with the short-range atomic force microscopy data, but they exclude information about the long-range components of roughness. The slope of the power spectrum density indicates surface diffusion is the dominant smoothening mechanism; the linear increase in roughness is consistent with columnar growth caused by self-shadowing.


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