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Surface kinetics and subplantation phenomena affecting the texture, morphology, stress, and growth evolution of titanium nitride films

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3 Author(s)
Patsalas, P. ; Department of Physics, Solid State Physics Section, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR-54124 Thessaloniki, Greece ; Gravalidis, C. ; Logothetidis, S.

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We present a thorough study of the microstructure, texture, intrinsic stress, surface, and interface morphology of transition metal nitride (mainly TiN but also CrN) films grown on Si by reactive sputter deposition, with emphasis to the mechanisms of adatom migration on the surface and subplantation of energetic species. In order to study the effects of adatom mobility and the subplantation probability we vary the ion energy and growth temperature. For the experimental part of this work we used nondestructive, statistically reliable x-ray techniques (diffraction, reflectivity, scattering). The x-ray results are compared and correlated with supporting data of in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry as well as Monte Carlo simulations of the irradiation effects and surface diffusion of adatoms. We found that the texture and the surface and interface morphology are sensitive to the mechanism of dissipation of the impinging ions. If the energy is enough to overcome the subplantation threshold (∼50 eV), then the films are highly compressed and exhibit ultrasmooth surfaces and rough interfaces. In this case, the texture of the films is not affected much by the ion energy, since the energy is dissipated in the bulk and contributes less to the surface mobility of adatoms. On the other hand, when the ion energy is below the subplantation threshold the texture of the films strongly depends on the ion energy and flux, the interfaces are atomically sharp and the surface morphology depends on the mobility and surface diffusion length of adatoms. However, in both cases these effects are dominant at the homogeneous growth. At the initial stages of nucleation and island growth the differences in the growth due to irradiation conditions are not pronounced and the thermodynamics of wetting of TiN on Si are prevailing factors.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:96 ,  Issue: 11 )