A photochemical vapor deposition technique was used to deposit silicon oxide films. A range of film properties was produced through changes in the process conditions. Refractive index, indicative of film composition, varied from 1.5 to 2.0, corresponding to oxygen rich and silicon rich conditions, respectively. Etch rate in buffered HF was a strong function of the refractive index, with higher index of refraction yielding lower rates. Film stress was tensile and the magnitude of the stress was again related to the index of refraction. Other properties that were evaluated included pinhole density and adhesion to Si. All the properties were directly relatable to the basic film composition.
X-ray photo electron and Auger electron spectroscopy were used to characterize the composition of these films. The Si 2p photoelectron and the Si KLL Auger electron spectra were broad for higher refractive index films and upon deconvolution indicated the presence of different silicon containing species, the natures of which depended upon the actual index of refraction. For stoichiometric films, the predominant constituent was SiO2 and for non-stoichiometric films, varying amounts of Si2O, SiO, Si2O3 and SiO2 were all present.