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Thermal decomposition of ultrathin oxide layers on Si(111) surfaces mediated by surface Si transport

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3 Author(s)
Watanabe, H. ; Joint Research Center for Atom Technology, Angstrom Technology Partnership (JRCAT-ATP), c/o National Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research (NAIR), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305, Japan ; Fujita, Ken ; Ichikawa, Masakazu

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Thermal decomposition of ultrathin oxide layers (less than 1 nm thick) on Si(111) surfaces was studied by using scanning reflection electron microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy. Void formation, where the diameter and density of the voids depend on the oxide film thickness, occurred on terraces randomly and independently of the buried steps at SiO2/Si(111) interfaces. Decomposition of the oxide layers caused by the void growth produced atomic-height holes on exposed Si surfaces. The surface roughness produced by the holes after thermal decomposition increased with the thickness of the oxide layers. The surface mass transport of Si adatoms to form volatile SiO products explains these experimental results. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.

Published in:

Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:70 ,  Issue: 9 )