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Atomic force microscope tip-induced local oxidation of silicon: kinetics, mechanism, and nanofabrication

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3 Author(s)
Avouris, P. ; IBM Research Division, T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598 ; Hertel, T. ; Martel, Richard

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Atomic force microscope induced local oxidation of silicon is a process with a strong potential for use in proximal probe nanofabrication. Here we examine its kinetics and mechanism and how such factors as the strength of the electric field, ambient humidity, and thickness of the oxide affect its rate and resolution. Detection of electrochemical currents proves the anodization character of the process. Initial very fast oxidation rates are shown to slow down dramatically as a result of a self-limiting behavior resulting from the build up of stress and a reduction of the electric field strength. The lateral resolution is determined by the defocusing of the electric field in a condensed water film whose extent is a function of ambient humidity. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:71 ,  Issue: 2 )