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We report formation of thin silicon oxide films on the silicon surfaces by combination of oxygen radical and high pressure H2O vapor heat treatment for passivation of silicon surfaces at a low temperature. Oxygen plasma was generated by 13.56 MHz radio frequency induction-coupled remote plasma with mixed gases of O2 and Ar at 2 sccm, 2x10-2 Pa and at a power of 50 W. Oxygen radical was produced from the plasma via a metal mesh closing plasma in the reactor. The top surfaces of 20 Wcm n-type silicon substrates with the rear surface coated by thermally grown SiO2 layers were exposed by oxygen radical from 1 to 5 min to oxidize the silicon surface. The samples were subsequently annealed with 9.0x105 Pa H2O vapor heat treatment at 260oC for 3 h. The effective minority carrier lifetime estimated using photo-induced carrier microwave absorption system in the case of 635 nm light illumination at 1.5 mW/cm2 to the top surface increased from 1.3x10-4 to 5.1x10-4s as the oxygen radical treatment duration increased from 1 to 5 min. The recombination velocity decreased from 380 to 90 cm/s. 500 kHz capacitance response with bias gate voltages characteristics of metal oxide semiconductor structure resulted in the effective oxide thicknesses (EOT) ranging from 1.3 to 1.7 nm. These results indicate a capability of thin oxide formation and effective passivation of silicon surfaces at a low temperature.
We report formation of thin aluminum oxide AlOx films on the silicon surface by a simple method of Al metal evaporation in oxygen gas atmosphere. 520 μm thick 30-Ωcm p-type-silicon substrates with a top bare surface and a rear surface coated with 100 nm thick thermally grown SiO2 layers were prepared. AlOx films were formed on the top surfaces by Al metal evaporation up to 20 s in oxygen gas atmosphere at 0.8 Pa with a flow rate of 3 sccm. Samples were subsequently annealed with 9.0x105 Pa H2O vapor at 260°C for 3 h. Measurement of capacitance response to a modulation voltage at 500 kHz as a function of bias gate voltages C-V revealed that AlOx films had the effective oxide thickness ranging from 2.0 and 2.6 nm were formed. C-V measurements also revealed that negative fixed charges were accumulated with a density of 5x1012 cm-2 in AlOx films. Photo-induced carrier microwave absorption measurement resulted in a high minority carrier effective lifetime τeff of 3.6x10-4 s comparable to that of 4.1x10-4 s for thermally grown SiO2 passivation. Field effect passivation was probably caused by negative charges in AlOx so that the surface recombination velocity decreased to 70 cm/s. X-ray reflectivity analysis indicated that the interfacial layer like SiOx was formed between AlOx and Si substrate. High pressure H2O vapor heat annealing caused increase in the density and decrease in the thickness of AlOx layers, although it increased the density and thickness of the interfacial SiOx layer thickness. H2O vapor treatment is effective to improve the quality of nanometer thick AlOxlayer.
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