Microstructural evolution of laser-exposed silicon targets in SF[sub 6] atmospheres

Fowlkes, J. D.; Fowlkes, J.D.; Pedraza, A. J.; Pedraza, A.J.; Lowndes, D. H.; Lowndes, D.H.
September 2000
Applied Physics Letters;9/11/2000, Vol. 77 Issue 11
Academic Journal
The microstructures formed at the surface of silicon during pulsed-laser irradiation in SF[sub 6]-rich atmospheres consist of an array of microholes surrounded by microcones. It is shown that there is a dynamic interplay between the formation of microholes and microcones. Fluorine produced by the laser-induced decomposition of SF[sub 6] is most likely responsible for the etching/ablation process. It is proposed that silicon-rich molecules and clusters that form in and are ejected from the continually deepening microholes sustain the axial and lateral growth of the microcones. The laser-melted layer at the tip and sides of the cones efficiently collects the silicon-rich products formed upon ablation. The total and partial pressures of SF[sub 6] in the chamber play a major role in cone development, a clear indication that it is the laser-generated plasma that controls the growth of these cones. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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