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Nucleation Studies of HfO2 Thin Films Produced by Atomic Layer Deposition

  • Justin C. Hackley (a1), J. Derek Demaree (a2) and Theodosia Gougousi (a3)


A hot wall Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) flow reactor equipped with a Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) has been used for the deposition of HfO2 thin films with tetrakis (dimethylamino) hafnium (TDMAH) and H2O as precursors. HfO2 films were deposited on H-terminated Si and SC1 chemical oxide starting surfaces. Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) and QCM measurements confirm linear growth of the films at a substrate temperature of 275°C. FTIR spectra indicate the films are amorphous as-deposited. Two distinct growth regimes are observed: from 1-50 cycles, both surfaces display similar growth rates of about 1.0Å/cycle; from 50-200 cycles, HfO2 growth is decreased by about 15% to ~0.87Å/cycle on both surfaces. Nucleation and initial growth behavior of the films on Si-H were examined using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Angle-resolved XPS, at take-off angles of θ=0, 15, 30, 45 and 60° measured from the normal to the sample surface, is used to probe the interfacial region of thin films (4, 7, 10, 15 and 25 cycles) on H-terminated samples. Initially, an interfacial layer comprised of a SiOx/HfSiOx mixture is grown between 1-10 ALD cycles. We observe that the Si/HfO2 interface is unstable, and oxidation continues up to the 25th ALD cycle, reaching a thickness of ~18Å.



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