We present new results of kinetic studies of the deposition of high quality a-Si:H which strongly support the reaction mechanism suggested in our earlier papers: 1. SiH4 → SiH2; 2. SiH2 + SiS4 → Si2H6 (SiH2 + Si2H6 → Si3H6); 3. Si2H6 → 2a-Si:H (Si3H8 → 3a-Si:H). The “SiH3 mechanism”, as promoted by several workers, is in contradiction with these experimental facts.
The di- and trisilane, which have a much higher reactive sticking coefficient than monosilane, play the role of reactive intermediates which facilitate the heterogeneous decomposition of silicon carrying species at the surface of the growing film. The values of the reactive sticking coefficient of Si2H6 and Si3H8 depend on the surface coverage by chemisorbed hydrogen; they increase with decreasing surface coverage. Under the conditions of the growth of high quality a-Si:H films the reactive sticking coefficient of disilane amounts to 10−4 to 10−2 which is in a good agreement with recent data of other authors.
The rate determining step of the growth of high quality a-Si:H films is the desorption of hydrogen from the surface of the growing film. This can be strongly enhanced by ion bombardment at impact energy of <100 eV. In this way, homogeneous, good quality films were deposited at rates up to 1800 Angströms/min, and there is a well justified hope that this rate can be further increased.