Compositional and structural studies of amorphous silicon-nitrogen alloys deposited at room temperature using a sputtering-type electron cyclotron resonance microwave plasma

Y. C. Liu, Katsuhiko Furukawa, Hiroshi Nakashima, Y. Kashiwazaki, D. W. Gao, Kiichiro Uchino, K. Muraoka, H. Tsuzuki

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High-quality amorphous silicon-nitrogen alloys (a-SiNx) have been deposited at room temperature by a sputtering-type electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasma. A detailed analysis of the properties of a-SiNx films in terms of their composition, microstructure and dielectric characteristics was performed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, infrared (IR) spectroscopy and ramp current-voltage measurement techniques. Their characteristics were correlated with the N2 gas flow rate (NGFR) in the ECR plasma formation. The dependence of solid-state [N]/[Si] ratios in the films on the NGFR indicated that the film composition changed from non-stoichiometry to stoichiometry as the NGFR increased from 0.5 to 1 seem. The dependence of the IR spectra on the NGFR indicated that silicon nitride network was well ordered for an NGFR of 1 seem, in which the dielectric breakdown-field was over 4 MVcm−1. However, when the NGFR was over 1 seem, significant N≡N triple bonds (gaseous N2 molecule) were formed and were trapped inside the films. These N2 molecules formed many voids and defects; and enhanced disorder in the network. This is well correlated by chemical etch and IR results. The dependence of dielectric properties of a-SiNx films on the NGFR demonstrated that these voids and defects lead to a decrease in average dielectric breakdown field and an obvious increase in the distribution of the low breakdown field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Magazine B: Physics of Condensed Matter; Statistical Mechanics, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Properties
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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